Germany’s second-biggest bank, Commerzbank, has announced it will have a new chief executive starting May 1. In the end, it appears the answer to its CEO search has always been right under the bank’s nose.
After a three-hour meeting on Sunday, the supervisory board announced that Martin Zielke, who has long been responsible for the retail banking side of the operation, will be stepping into the top job.
Martin Blessing, who has led the troubled bank since 2008, will vacate the post after a surprise announcement in November that he would not renew his contract.
It’s been a long time since the board has deemed it necessary to sit on a Sunday, but after months of searching, they finally managed to agree on an internal candidate to settle into the big chair.
The decision ended speculation that Commerzbank, which had to be bailed out during the financial crisis and is still partly state-owned, might have been leaning towards an external candidate.
The board also announced that Michael Mandel would move into Mr. Zielke’s old office. Mr. Mandel, as an executive vice president, worked together with Mr. Zielke to clean up retail operations.
The promotion is widely being viewed as Mr. Zielke’s reward for what’s been hailed as his successful restructuring and streamlining of the private customer branch. The 53-year-old has been with Commerzbank since 2002, leading the private client and retail business since 2010.