Press Release Press Release


March 04, 2008

Commerzbank is bundling its Eastern European operations into a separate holding company and announces the appointment of Andre Carls as its headMariusz Grendowicz to be the new CEO of BRE Bank

Following the successful conclusion of negotiations on the acquisition of a majority stake in Ukrainian Bank Forum and on the granting of official authorizations, Commerzbank is now reorganising its operations in Central and Eastern Europe. The operations of all subsidiaries and regional branches in Central and Eastern Europe have until now been included in the Mittelstandsbank segment, but in the future they will be combined in a separate holding company which will have its own management and reporting system. This new arrangement reflects the rapidly growing importance of Central and Eastern Europe for the whole Group, and will also improve the transparency of the reporting procedures. Last year, the region accounted for 11% of the Commerzbank Group's operating profit, and this is set to rise to 15 - 20% over the medium term.

Dr. Andre Carls (44), the current CEO of comdirect bank, is assuming overall responsibility for the new segment. The Chief Risk Officer of the holding company will be Michael Schmid (55), who has been responsible for the Bank’s global credit risk management.

Dr. Carls shall also take over from Jerzy Jóźkowiak as CFO of the Polish subsidiary BRE Bank, while assuming the Deputy CEO role together with Wieslaw Thor. The new CEO of BRE Bank is to be Mariusz C. Grendowicz (47) who was the Deputy CEO of the Polish Bank BPH until the end of 2006.

“Andre Carls is an acknowledged expert, and we are delighted to be putting him in charge of the new East European holding company”, said Martin Blessing, the Member of the Commerzbank Board of Managing Directors responsible for Eastern Europe. “As CEO of comdirect, he was highly successful even in very competitive markets. I am also delighted to welcome Mariusz Grendowicz as the new CEO of BRE Bank. Together with the strong management team Grendowicz and Carls are well prepared to strengthen BRE Bank’s position as the third largest bank in Poland.”

BRE Bank’s new Board of Managing Directors shall be completed by Christian Rhino (38), who will join from the Frankfurt head office to be its Chief Operating Officer. His function was previously carried out by Rainer Ottenstein (49) who will now be co-managing Commerzbank’s Prague branch. Bernd Loewen, Jaroslaw Mastalerz and Janusz Wojtas shall continue as Board Members in their current positions. All proposals are subject to the necessary Supervisory Board decisions and requisite regulatory approvals.

In the course of the reorganization of operations in Eastern Europe BRE Bank’s current CEO, Sławomir Lachowski (50), has requested that his expiring contract should not be prolonged. Lachowski has been on the Board of Managing Directors since 2000. He is departing by mutual agreement.

“I would like to thank Sławomir Lachowski and Jerzy Jóźkowiak for their tremendous hard work which helped make us successful, and wish them all the best in the next stage of their professional life. We wish to thank them for their commitment which helped expand our strong position in Poland and make mBank one of the largest online banks in Europe”, said Martin Blessing.

2007 was an extremely successful year for BRE Bank, which is 70% owned by Commerzbank, having improved its pre-tax profit to EUR 267 million. Together with its subsidiaries mBank and MultiBank, it increased the number of private customers by one quarter to more than two million. With total assets of EUR 15.6 billion, it is now the country’s third largest bank.

Bank Forum is one of the leading banks in the Ukraine with a market share of 2.6%. In its 300 branches it employs 3,900 staff, who service some 16,000 corporate and 260,000 private customers. Commerzbank acquired a 60% holding plus one share from the former majority owner Leonid Yurushev, and holds options to buy up to a further 25%.