Exclusive Martin Zielke Named New Commerzbank CEO

Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank, has named a successor to its parting chief executive officer Martin Blessing, the company said in a statement on Sunday. Martin Zielke, currently the bank’s retail division head, will take over the helm at Commerzbank on May 1, four months earlier than initially expected. Last October, Mr. Blessing had surprised shareholders by announcing that he didn’t want his contract renewed when it ends in September 2016. After some speculation that Commerzbank, which had to be bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis and is still partly state-owned, might prefer an external candidate as chief executive, a current board member will take over. Mr. Zielke, 53, has been with Commerzbank since 2002 and has headed the private client and retail business since 2010. The non-executive supervisory board, which has to approve strategy decisions and can hire and fire executives, also made further changes to Commerzbank’s board of directors on Sunday. Michael Mandel will succeed Mr. Zielke as the head of private customer business. Bettina Orlopp will take over a newly created management post responsible for compliance, human resources and legal affairs. She becomes the first woman on Commerzbank’s management board.