Deutsche Bank was hit by a high-profile departure on the heels of its announcement that it plans to buy fellow German banking company Dresdner Bank.
Michael Dobson, head of the $590 billion-asset Deutsche Asset Management unit and a Deutsche Bank board member, will step down in June, the Frankfurt banking company said Friday. He has not announced what he plans to do after leaving Deutsche, an official at the company said.
The announcement coincided with reports that Deutsche Bank CEO Rolf Breuer is talking about a possible sale of Dresdner's investment banking unit, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, after the $29 billion deal is completed in the first quarter of 2001. Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank would not comment on the reports Friday.
Mr. Breuer's reported comments contradict a statement he made 10 days earlier when announcing Deutsche's plan to buy Dresdner. Then, Mr. Breuer had described Dresdner Kleinwort Benson as a "jewel" that would not dismantled or sold.
Dresdner Kleinwort Benson does not have a large presence in the United States, but it could present an opportunity for a U.S. company looking to expand into Europe, said James Hyde, an equity analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co. in London. "There would certainly be buyers," Mr. Hyde said, but he stopped short of identifying possible buyers.
At Deutsche Asset Management, meanwhile, Mr. Dobson will be succeeded by Sir Robert Smith. Sir Robert was "active" in the recent integration of the Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust Corp. investment units, according to the Deutsche official who requested anonymity.
The official said he expected that Deutsche Bank would continue its current aggressive asset-gathering strategy in the United States, where the banking company manages about $290 billion. Combined, the banking companies would have more than $700 billion under management.