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Chairman of the board of Deutsche Bank Paul Achleitner in Frankfurt, Germany, May 23, 2019.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Deutsche Bank’s chairman Paul Achleitner said he intends to step down as chairman of the German lender when his term ends in 2022.

His announcement, made to shareholders at the bank’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, was the first time that he has publicly said that he would not seek a third five-year term.

Achleitner has come under criticism from some Deutsche Bank shareholders for the bank’s losses, strategy and management upheaval.

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“I won’t seek re-election. After 10 years in this role, it has to be enough,” he said.

Glass Lewis, a leading shareholder advisory group, had called on investors to vote against ratifying the actions Achleitner over the past year at the shareholder meeting, citing “performance” concerns.

Achleitner has already been working on a succession plan, sources have said. The bank’s supervisory board has recently expressed continued support for him.

Separately, Deutsche’s chief executive Christian Sewing dismissed shareholder concerns the bank would need state aid to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak and said the bank needed to become more profitable before taking a leading role in European banking consolidation.

Asked by one shareholder about whether the bank could avoid resorting to state aid during the crisis, Sewing said Deutsche Bank was much stronger than a few years ago.

“We are therefore well equipped to master the challenge that the current environment poses,” said Sewing. “The question ... isn’t applicable”.

The bank, which is undergoing a major overhaul after five years of losses, is cutting 18,000 jobs. Last year, it abandoned talks to merge with rival Commerzbank.

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“We must be more profitable than today if we want to play a leading role in European consolidation,” Sewing said. “We are preparing for consolidation.”

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