Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 October 2022 – At its meeting on 10 October, the Supervisory Board of Bankhaus Metzler will appoint new members to its top management and also set the course for the long-term management of the private bank. According to the F.A.Z., Gerhard Wiesheu, 60, who has been responsible for asset management and international business on the board of directors, will be appointed ” spokesman of the board of directors”. Franz von Metzler, son of the head of the family Friedrich von Metzler, is to be appointed to the board. ” We are not in a position to comment on this at this time. Please understand that we do not want to anticipate the decision of the supervisory board,” said the spokeswoman of Bankhaus Metzler upon request.
Since Friedrich von Metzler retired from the bank’s management in May 2018, Emmerich Müller has led Metzler Bank as the unofficial primus inter pares. The 66-year-old banker will retire in the summer of 2023. Then the 60-year-old Wiesheu will become the second non-family member to head the management of Bankhaus Metzler in a row. Wiesheu will even be invested with the official insignia of “board spokesman”.
But Friedrich’s son, Franz von Metzler, could soon be running the bank. After working as an analyst for the bank HSBC in London, Franz von Metzler has already been working since 2014 at the bank, which has been continuously family-owned since its foundation in 1674. In July 2020, Franz von Metzler, now 36, was appointed one of the managing directors of the subsidiary Metzler Asset Management GmbH, which reports to Wiesheu.
It seems likely that Franz von Metzler will move to the board of the parent company, take over asset management there instead of Wiesheu and then succeed him as chairman of the board in a few years. According to information received by the F.A.Z., this is to happen sooner than those familiar with the bank had thought. Apparently, Franz von Metzler will move up to the Board of Managing Directors at the beginning of 2023, which will also entail a change in departmental responsibilities. Wiesheu will take over the high-profile private banking, i.e. the advisory and asset management of private clients, from Müller.
This will give Wiesheu the opportunity to make his mark on Metzler’s domestic business even more strongly. So far Wiesheu has been called Metzler’s ” Minister of Foreign Affairs”. The Bavarian met his Japanese wife Yumiko as a teenager on a language holiday in the English seaside resort of Brighton, learned to speak Japanese fluently, then built up asset management first for Commerzbank and then, after joining Metzler in 2001, for the Frankfurt bank in Japan; in the meantime Wiesheu is responsible for Metzler’s entire foreign business, in addition to Japan, above all in America and China.
For years, Wiesheu has regularly represented the Frankfurt banking industry on state visits – when Deutsche Bank temporarily fell out of favour in the Chancellor’s Office after the financial crisis – alone, now together with Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, as was seen most recently during Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) visit to Canada in the business delegation.
The bustling Wiesheu is also interested in culture; because of his commitment to the Richard Wagner Festival, he is now an honorary member of the Society of Friends of Bayreuth. A few months ago, Wiesheu was even presented with the Federal Cross of Merit by Hesse’s former Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU). Finally, Wiesheu has also significantly intensified his public commitment to Frankfurt as a financial centre since he took over as president of the 75-member Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. in November 2020. A second two-year term for Wiesheu for this financial centre initiative founded in 2008 seems certain. Due to his future prominent position at Metzler, Wiesheu will probably be seen even more often.
Although Bankhaus Metzler converted from a partnership limited by shares (KGaA) into a “real” stock corporation in June 2021, there will still be no chairman of the board there. But unlike his predecessor Müller, Wiesheu will be given the official title of “spokesman of the board”, as used to be the case at Commerzbank, for example, before the Anglo-Saxon capital market mindset introduced the post of CEO and equated it with chairman of the board. At Metzler, it was previously said, the culture was different. Here, shaped by the former partner structure, there were so-called primi inter pares on the board with Müller and Friedrich von Metzler, but they did not need titles.
That is now changing. Wiesheu will have a prominent position on the board and, like his two predecessors, will represent the face of the bank to the public until the family, presumably in the person of Franz von Metzler, takes over the leadership again. Metzler is owned by the family in any case: 40 percent of the bank’s shares belong to Franz von Metzler, the perspective speaker of the board; 40 percent to his sister Elena, who, as a mother of two, by no means limits herself to her role as a supervisory board member, but – quite the father, as they say at the bank – makes one customer visit after another with great élan.
The remaining 20 percent of the shares are held by Leonhard von Metzler, son of Friedrich’s late cousin Christoph von Metzler. But it is not yet the turn of this twelfth generation of the Metzler banking dynasty since 1674 to run the bank. With Wiesheu, they will soon have someone at the helm with whom they can wait for the right moment. HANNO MUSSLER
This is an automated translation of the original German article:
Hanno Mussler (5 October 2022): Metzlers erster Vorstandssprecher, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Unternehmen (Wirtschaft), Page 20
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