Commerzbank’s new chief Martin Zielke didn’t mince his words at the end of August.
“The upheaval now is brutal, rapid and radical,” said the head of Germany’s second-largest bank about the current tumult in the banking world. “Banks are being forced to take every stone in hand, turn it over, re-sort it or completely eliminate it.”
Two weeks later it is clear that Mr. Zielke already had concrete plans to bring his bank out of crisis.
Hardly five months into his new job, Mr. Zielke appears to have left only a few stones unturned. Commerzbank’s small and medium-sized enterprise (Mittelstandsbank) division, the one-time cash cow, will be split up, according to plans. Smaller customers will go into the private customer bank and the medium-sized business sector will be looked after by the investment bank. Many jobs are likely to be cut in the process.