Commerzbank chairman dismisses 'irresponsible' reports of dissatisfaction with CEO

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commerzbank’s supervisory board chairman on Thursday dismissed reports of board dissatisfaction with its chief executive as irresponsible and unfounded.

FILE PHOTO: Martin Zielke, CEO of Germany’s Commerzbank addresses the media during the bank’s annual news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

Chairman Stefan Schmittmann was reacting to reports in recent days that some board members were pushing Commerzbank to end merger talks with rival Deutsche Bank and push CEO Martin Zielke from office.

“Rumors and speculation on personnel changes are made up out of thin air,” Schmittmann said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “Such allegations are irresponsible and unworthy of discussion.”

Germany’s Manager Magazin was one of the news organizations that reported on a rebellion, writing on Wednesday that the push was coming from board members who represent employees.

Schmittmann said that Commerzbank “must explore” the option to merge with Deutsche. “I think that’s right and it’s their duty,” he added.

Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing has told his counterpart at Commerzbank that he wants more time to consider a merger.

The two banks announced merger talks on March 17. If successful, they would create Europe’s third-largest bank from Germany’s top two lenders,