Rolf Breuer: Former Deutsche Bank CEO dies at 86

Rolf Breuer: Former Deutsche Bank CEO dies at 86

Rolf Breuer shaped the financial center of Frankfurt and Deutsche Bank for years. One sentence cost him and his employer dearly. He has now died at the age of 86.

Former Deutsche Bank CEO Rolf-Ernst Breuer has died. Breuer died on Wednesday at the age of 86, after a long illness, surrounded by his family, Germany’s largest bank announced in Frankfurt on Thursday.

Breuer spent almost his entire professional life at Deutsche Bank. As CEO from May 1997 to May 2002, he drove the internationalization of the group and expanded the capital market business – despite some resistance. The manager then headed the bank’s supervisory board for four years.

During his time as CEO, “Mr. Financial Center” made the Frankfurt-based institute one of the world’s leading financial groups. In 1999, Deutsche Bank celebrated the multi-billion dollar takeover of the US bank Bankers Trust. However, the planned merger with Dresdner Bank failed a year later shortly before completion.

Rolf Breuer’s term in office was not free of turbulence

The current Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Alexander Wynaendts, acknowledged that the Bankers Trust takeover had contributed significantly to “the fact that Deutsche Bank can now support its customers worldwide in all financial matters and has the global network and expertise necessary to do so.” In Rolf-Ernst Breuer, Deutsche Bank is losing “one of its most influential personalities.”

Breuer’s successor Josef Ackermann told the “Bild” newspaper: “Deutsche Bank owes a lot to Rolf Breuer.” He will remember a person “who you could always rely on,” said Ackermann. “Whenever there was bad press, he would say: Mr. Ackermann, don’t worry, your obituary will be much friendlier one day.”

Breuer’s time in office was not without turbulence either. As head of Deutsche Bank, he spoke just a few sentences into a reporter’s microphone at the beginning of 2002. In the short conversation with Bloomberg TV, which was published on February 4, 2002, Breuer questioned Leo Kirch’s creditworthiness. The sentence cost him and his employer dearly. Kirch’s media group went under shortly afterwards. Throughout his life, Kirch blamed Breuer and Deutsche Bank for this. It was only years later that the bank agreed a settlement with Kirch’s heirs in the hundreds of millions.

Source: Stern

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