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Zurich Financial proposes Ackermann as chairman


ZURICH (Reuters)—Zurich Financial Services Ltd. said it would propose outgoing Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann as its chairman after a shareholder meeting on March 29.

The 63-year-old Swiss-born Mr. Ackermann will hand the reins of Deutsche, Germany's flagship bank, to investment banker Anshu Jain and Germany chief Juergen Fitschen during the annual shareholders meeting at the end of May.

Until then, Tom de Swaan, whom the Swiss insurer proposes as board vice chairman, will act as chairman, Zurich said in a statement Tuesday.

The Zurich job is a far lower-key role than Mr. Ackermann has carved out in his decade at the helm of Deutsche, during which he transformed the German lender from mainly serving industrial companies into an international investment bank with retail banking, asset management and wealth management operations.

Mr. Ackermann rose to even greater prominence during the financial crisis and the ongoing European debt crisis due to his role as chairman of the Institute of International Finance and for his links to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Deutsche Bank has been in talks with financial institutions including Zurich Financial over executive liability insurance to cover its managers in a long drawn-out dispute with the estate of deceased German media mogul Leo Kirch.