All change DekaBank Lets Behrens Go

The German bank has finally released its high-flying deputy chief executive, fueling speculation that he is soon to join U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley.
He's outta there.

The stalemate is over. Oliver Behrens, deputy chief executive officer of DekaBank, one of Germany's largest asset managers, has left its management board, ending a long contract dispute.

This opens the way for the 51-year old banker, who previously worked at Deutsche Bank, to become the new boss of the German division of U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley. According to financial sources in Frankfurt, the capital market expert will remain bounded to DekaBank, the central asset manager of Germany's public savings banks, until the end of the year.

Whether he will then immediately move to his executive chair a few blocks away in downtown Frankfurt or give himself a few weeks' buffer period remains to be seen.

Mr. Behrens has been a member of DekaBank's management board since 2007 and was responsible for the institutional clients, securities and capital markets division.

But lately the executive has had to summon up a great deal of patience because negotiations with the administrative board over the conditions of his departure have dragged on and on.

The executive has had to summon up a great deal of patience because negotiations with the administrative board have dragged on.

Normally his contract would have run out at the end of 2015. But according to sources, there were differences of opinion between the chairman of the administrative board, Georg Fahrenschon, and Rolf Gerlach, a powerful president of one of DekaBank's regional owners. “It’s good that once again things are clear and the search for a successor for Behrens can get a move on,” said an observer.

Michael Rüdiger, the chairman of the bank's management board, will immediately take over provisional responsibility for Mr Behrens’ portfolio. At the same time, he will temporarily transfer part of his responsibilities to his colleagues Matthias Danne, Martin Müller and Georg Stocker.

Mr. Behrens' move to Morgan Stanley will mean a return to investment banking after an eight year stint in the public institution camp. He started his professional career at Deutsche Bank in 1982, where he was most recently global head of structured products, money market products and short-term fixed interest bonds.


The author is a Handelsblatt editor and former head of its banking desk. To contact the author: [email protected]