The Supervisory Board from left to right:
Werner Wenning, Stefan Viertel, Dr. Karl-Gerhard Eick, Renate Voigt, Tilman Todenhöfer, Suzanne Labarge, Dr. Johannes Teyssen, Alfred Herling, Gabriele Platscher, Karin Ruck, Katherine Garrett-Cox, Wolfgang Böhr, Dr. Paul Achleitner, Henriette Mark, Martina Klee, Marlehn Thieme, Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, Rudolf Stockem, Prof. Dr. Klaus Rüdiger Trützschler, Peter Löscher
Everything starts with trust. A year ago, you expressed your trust in us. You voted to endorse and re-elect this Supervisory Board with an emphatic majority – more than 97% on average. We took this trust – your trust – as the basis of everything we do, even if, as in previous years, a few individuals have chosen to raise legal objections to your decisions.
With trust comes obligation. We are bound by our obligations to you, the owners of Deutsche Bank AG. In your name, we oversee the dealings of the Management Board and advise it on decisive issues. In the past year, this involved 28 meetings of the Supervisory Board and its committees, together with a strategy workshop. Every meeting was fully attended by all members, with the exception of one apology for absence on one occasion. The Supervision Board Chairman and the Management Board maintained a constant dialogue on important issues and upcoming decisions.
In the past year we have made changes, in particular personnel changes in our management structure, which reflected adjustments we made to our business model. In September 2012 the Bank presented its strategic and financial aspirations through 2015 and beyond, under the leadership of Messrs. Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain, co-Chairmen of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee. Strategy 2015+ affirms our commitment to a client centric, global universal banking business model which values our German roots and remains dedicated to our global presence. Our core objectives are to continue to reduce risks, to grow our capital base by organic means and to achieve operational excellence. We have also committed to placing Deutsche Bank at the forefront of cultural change. Adjusting our compensation models is only a part of this effort, albeit an important one.
We commit to dealing fully and comprehensively with legal issues. We have focused intensely on these during the past year – including the investigations concerning interbank offered rates, U.S. embargo legislation (for example regarding Iran), trading in carbon emission certificates, the Kirch case and other legal matters. These have a significant impact on the Bank – above all, on our reputation. Rest assured that we, with significant support from outside legal counsel, are doing all we can to gain full transparency on these cases and prevent such things from happening again. For the sake of complete clarity, it goes without saying that the Supervisory Board has been constantly monitoring the Bank’s commercial and financial performance in addition to these legal issues. We also devoted significant attention to regulatory topics, focusing in particular on proposals which challenge the universal banking model and the implementation of Basel III in Europe. We remained in constant contact with our most important regulators both in Germany and abroad.
We take our responsibilities very seriously, not only towards our owners, but also toward Deutsche Bank’s staff. We thank them most sincerely for their loyalty during the tough times we have passed through and which, in some measure, still remain ahead of us. On the one hand, a fast-changing competitive environment demands a high degree of flexibility from our staff; on the other, our Bank’s reputation has suffered. The public perception of Deutsche Bankers has come in for criticism – unjustly so, in our opinion. There has been much public discussion about the steps we needed to take regarding the conduct of some individuals and of the role of the institution. The sheer volume of media reporting gave the corrosive impression that banks had not learnt from their mistakes. For Deutsche Bank at least, that is untrue. The Supervisory Board will do everything in its power to lay firm foundations for Deutsche Bank as a world-leading client-centric universal bank based on a culture of social acceptability and sustainability. That is what our responsibilities toward society, and toward the wider economy, demand of us. Everyone gains from a successful Deutsche Bank acting within a stable and efficient financial system. The notions of client-centricity or cultural change may seem contrived, and may give rise to cynicism in some quarters; but there is no escaping the fundamental fact that any business – including the banking and capital markets business – is based on creating value for the customer. Deutsche Bank’s executive leadership has committed itself to this principle, and we will constantly remind them of that commitment. We will contribute actively and constructively to the political debate about ways to stabilise the financial system; we will offer concrete proposals on the regulatory environment and we will highlight the unintended consequences of regulatory or legislative proposals.
And here, we remember the debt of gratitude we have – to our investors and clients for the trust they place in us, and to our staff for their commitment and contribution. Special mention goes to those who left Deutsche Bank’s service during the past year, in some cases after many years. In particular, we thank our former Management Board members Josef Ackermann, Hugo Banziger and Hermann Lamberti, and former Supervisory Board members Dr. Börsig, Messrs. Herzberg and Lévy, and Dr. Siegert.
Finally, let us keep in mind the proud tradition of our Bank, which has come through many challenging and turbulent times during its 142-year history. As is well-known, Alfred Herrhausen once said: “We must say what we think, do what we say, and be what we do.” It is less well-known that he also observed: “A company which is evolving needs something of a small cultural revolution every fifteen or twenty years.” Both those statements remain true today.
On behalf of the Supervisory Board,
Dr. Paul Achleitner
Frankfurt am Main, April 2013