If you ask Allianz CEO Oliver Bäte about the qualities of his predecessor Michael Diekmann, he tends to get a bit effusive. Mr. Diekmann “was a great supporter,” he told Handelsblatt. “He was always a great collaborator.” He is delighted, he said, that the former CEO will return to Allianz as chairman of the non-executive supervisory board this spring.
The impression Mr. Bäte gives is that Allianz, Germany’s largest insurer, will be lining up with a dream team at its upcoming annual general meeting. More likely, however, is that the current Allianz boss is about to feel the heat with Mr. Diekmann as his head overseer.
It took Mr. Bäte just one year as chief executive to antagonize some of Allianz’s more veteran employees. His numerous initiatives to catapult the 127-year-old insurer into the digital age met resistance. It was too much at once, too uncoordinated and yielded too few results, his critics said. They’re now hoping that under Mr. Diekmann, the supervisory board will slow the CEO down.