Countess in Control

HSBC Trinkaus Shifts Gears

Countess HSBC Imago Sven Simon
Carola Schmettow, the bank's new CEO.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    HSBC Group’s German unit hopes new leadership will give it the advantage in the fight for customers among Germany’s small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • HSBC Trinkaus management board chairman Andreas Schmitz is expected to be named head of Düsseldorf-based bank’s supervisory board.
    • Rudolf Apenbrink and Stephen Price will also assume leadership positions.
    • The annual shareholders’ meeting is June 2.
  • Audio

    Audio

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German financial services company HSBC Trinkaus, a subsidiary of British banking giant HSBC, is fine-tuning its focus and reorganizing its management.

Carola Schmettow, or Carola Countess of Schmettow, as is her full title, who has been on the management board since 2006, is set to become chief executive of the bank.

She will take over at a time when competition for customers in Germany’s hotly contested banking market is only likely to increase. HSBC, which gained a foothold in the German market by acquiring the storied Trinkaus & Burkhardt in 1999, is battling a series of banks looking to expand their lending operations to businesses in Europe’s largest economy.

Ms. Schmettow, 51, wants to let the news of her appointment fade quickly, as it comes at a time when gender diversity and quotas in business leadership positions is a hot issue in Germany. She prefers to focus on her years of experience.

“This bank has always been strong because it was out in the field with customers and didn’t engage in navel-gazing,” she said.

Ms. Schmettow hopes to continue a transformation that was started under Andreas Schmitz, the bank’s current chief executive, who is expected to be named head of the non-executive supervisory board at the annual shareholders’ meeting on June 2.

Mr. Schmitz said he will play an active role and continue to take care of various clients but noted that decision-making will be left to the management board. The private bank’s owners ― the Britain-based HSBC Group and the Stuttgart-based Landesbank Baden-Württemberg ― reportedly backed his move onto the supervisory board.

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