“There Is No Business Like Joe-Business”

… commented the ‘Financial Times Deutschland’ concerning Josef Ackermann’s last general assembly as chief executive of the Deutsche Bank. In regard to this meeting, Facing Finance and other members of the group ‘Andere Banken braucht das Land!’ (We need alternative banks!), presented a critical outcome of Ackermann’s era in the bank.

Moreover, on the day of the general shareholder assembly in Frankfurt, the group organized various campaigns to call public attention and especially address shareholders to the questionable business relations of the Deutsche Bank.  

At the general assembly different members of the group ‘Andere Banken braucht das Land’ revealed the ruthless business practices of the Deutsche Bank, prompting the persons responsible to comment on the criticism. 70 shareholders were registered to talk at the assembly this year, which eventually induced the chairman, Börsig to restrict speakers from five to two minutes. Thus, regarding this short time, it was nearly impossible to express critical questions concerning the last business year.

As in the previous year, Branislav Kapetanovic, who has been seriously injured in 2000 while attempting to deactivate a cluster bomb, attended the general shareholder assembly in Frankfurt. Reacting to his speech at last year’s assembly, Ackermann explained in November 2011 that the Deutsche Bank was going to withdraw fully from deals with cluster bombs. However, CMC member Facing Finance and urgewald found out that in March 2012 the Deutsche Bank contracted new business relations with cluster munitions manufacturers. Branislav Kapetanovic expressed his disappointment about Josef Ackermann and asked the two new chief executives to end, once and for all, all business relations to manufacturers of cluster munitions. Whereas, Ackermann emphasized repeatedly that no business should be worth to risk the bank’s credibility. Moreover, he stressed that the Deutsche Bank had already withdrawn from such business relations. Also, he promised to check the list of cluster munitions manufacturers to which the bank still had provable business relations this March.

Furthermore, Matthias Wolfschmidt (foodwatch) brought up speculations in food. Concerning this issue, Ackermann also declared that the Deutsche Bank was conscious about its social responsibility and that in the past months no new businesses, which are based on the speculation in food, were contracted and will not, until the consequences would be examined in great detail. Wolfschmidt criticized that Deutsche Bank will continue with ongoing speculation dealing and will only refrain from entering into new business in this sector. Only in 2010, food prices increased by one third, thus plunging 40 million people into absolute poverty.

Beside these two points, campaigners from urgewald criticized, among other things, the engagement of the Deutsche Bank with the initial public offering of Coal India because the energy generation out of coal led to increasing CO2 emissions, therefore contributing to climate change. These damaging consequences were not mentioned in the brochure of the initial public offering.