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Leading Figures

Abs, Hermann Josef

Biographical data:
15.10.1901 in Bonn - 05.02.1994 in Bad Soden


Institution:
Deutsche Bank


Functions:
Member of the Management Board 1938-1967 (Spokesman 1957-1967) and Chairman of the Supervisory Board 1967-1976




When Georg von Siemens, the leading figure in the foundation of Deutsche Bank, died in 1901, Hermann J. Abs was born. Together with Konrad Adenauer; Ludwig Erhard; Wilhelm Vocke, the President of the Bank deutscher Länder; and Hans Böckler, the trade union leader; Hermann J. Abs was one of the five Germans who became identified with the reconstruction of the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War. Born on October 15, 1901 in Bonn, Hermann J. Abs grew up in a very strict Catholic Rhineland family in a upper middle class environment that was influenced by a certain degree of resentment against the Prussians. His talents were such that he could very easily have become a mathematician or conductor. But he preferred, after finishing his schooling, to complete an apprenticeship at the Bonn-based privately owned bank of Louis David. After working abroad in Amsterdam, London, North and South America, he started his career as a private bankier with one of the most important Berlin-based private banks, at "Delbrück Schickler & Co.". In January 1938, Abs joined the Board of Managing Directors of Deutsche Bank, seeing as he saw a greater opportunity for his own career development here than with a privately owned bank. During the National Socialist period, Abs was responsible at the bank for its foreign business and, such being the case, he came into contact with the aggressive expansion policies of the regime. He, however, attempted to maintain his distance to National Socialism and never joined the party. But Abs was not a hero. When asked in a personal discussion about his relationship to National Socialism, he frankly expressed one single word: "fearful". Recently, there has been a heated debate among historians on the role Abs played during the National Socialist period. However, Hermann J. Abs' most important period was after the Second World War following a brief imprisonment by the Allies when he was involved in the reconstruction of Germany. In 1948 he participated in the establishment of the Bank deutscher Länder and, in November 1948, founded the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW), which administrated the funds from the Marshal Plan. His political masterpiece, however, was during the negotiations on German foreign debt in London. With the London Debt Agreement of 1953, Germany's creditworthiness was re-established abroad. During this same period at the beginning of the fifties, he worked towards the reunification of the German big banks that had been broken up following the Second World War. These efforts were successful in 1957, and Abs became the first Spokesman of the reunited Deutsche Bank, a position he held until 1967. During this period, he strengthened Deutsche Bank's contacts with industry and re-established old relationships in foreign trade. From 1967 to 1976, Abs was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank. Alongside his work as a banker, Hermann J. Abs always had an involvement with art. He was Chairman of the Administration of the Städel Art Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Patrons' Association of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and Chairman of the Beethoven-Haus Society in Bonn. In 1991 he was a founding member of the Historical Association of Deutsche Bank. Hermann J. Abs died on February 5, 1994.
 


Achleitner, Paul

Biographical data:
1956


Institution:
Deutsche Bank


Functions:
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG since 31 May 2012



Ackermann, Josef

Biographical data:
1948


Institution:
Deutsche Bank


Functions:
Member of the Management Board 1996-2012 (Spokesman 2002-2006, Chairman 2006 - 31 May 2012)




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Last Update: 16.7.2012
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