Wöhrmann has to go to DWS after greenwashing allegations

NAfter the raid on Deutsche Bank and its fund subsidiary DWS because of the accusation of greenwashing, the institute reacted with an important personnel decision: the controversial DWS boss Asoka Wöhrmann has to go. The decision was announced early Wednesday morning. The accusation that DWS has declared financial products as sustainable, even though they weren’t, has been around for a long time. They were raised by the head of sustainability, Desiree Fixler, who then fired Wöhrmann. Fixler sued against the dismissal, but lost in a Frankfurt court.

Wöhrmann was also accused of mistakes in corporate management. He himself rejected all allegations at the fund company’s balance sheet press conference at the end of January. “Since April last year, DWS and I have been the target of many attacks,” he said at the time. These attacks targeted DWS’ reputation as well as its own reputation and well-being. “I expressly reject all of these accusations and insinuations,” said Wöhrmann and said: “But I won’t let myself be intimidated and prevented from my work.”

Deutsche Bank boss Christian Sewing also backed Wöhrmann in January. As far as greenwashing is concerned, there were no clues, he said at the time. Sewing did not want to publicly respond to media reports that Wöhrmann is said to have used his private e-mail for business communications.

In an internal letter to the employees of DWS, which the FAZ had access to, Wöhrmann emphasized that his decision to step down from the top of the fund company was voluntary. “The allegations against DWS and myself over the last few months, including personal attacks and threats, however unfounded or unfounded, have left their mark. They were a burden both for the company and for me and especially my family,” writes Wöhrman. “With a heavy heart” he “agreed with the company to resign as CEO”.

Stefan Hoops becomes Wöhrmann’s successor

On Tuesday, Deutsche Bank and DWS were visited by investigators who searched rooms in the headquarters of Germany’s largest financial institution in Frankfurt and in the neighboring DWS building. According to the public prosecutor’s office, around 50 emergency services from the public prosecutor’s office, the financial supervisory authority Bafin and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) were involved. According to a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office on Tuesday, there is a suspicion of capital investment fraud. “The procedure is aimed at previously unknown employees and managers at DWS.” According to the authorities, the investigation has been underway since mid-January 2022. Deutsche Bank is the main shareholder of the listed DWS with almost 80 percent.

The announcement, published by Deutsche Bank at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning, states that Wöhrmann has resigned “in agreement with the company”. The DWS boss is not leaving immediately either, but promptly: at the end of the DWS general meeting on June 9th.

When saying goodbye to Wörmann, there were words of praise from the entire top management of Deutsche Bank. “Asoka Wöhrmann has played a major part in the success of our asset management in recent years,” said Karl von Rohr, Deputy CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DWS, according to the announcement. Under his leadership, DWS has expanded its market position and maintained it well in what has recently been a challenging environment. “We would like to thank him for this, as well as for his contribution in previous positions, including in Deutsche Bank’s private customer business in Germany,” continued von Rohr. “I would also like to thank Asoka Wöhrmann for his impressive work and performance for DWS and Deutsche Bank,” Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing is quoted as saying.

Wöhrmann’s successor is Stefan Hoops, who was previously at the head of the corporate bank. “In Stefan Hoops, we have gained a proven capital market specialist for the helm of DWS, who brings the necessary strategic foresight, digitization expertise and management skills for this role,” said von Rohr according to the announcement. Hoops will assume responsibility for group-level wealth management and will become Chief Executive Officer of DWS Group effective June 10.