Friday November 12th 2021
“Peanuts” caused a stir
Ex-head of Deutsche Bank Kopper has died
A flippant slogan makes him known beyond the industry. But for years Hilmar Kopper sat in central positions in large German companies. So he ran the Deutsche Bank and controlled Daimler. Now he died after a short illness.
The former Deutsche Bank boss Hilmar Kopper is dead. Kopper died on Thursday after a brief serious illness with his family, announced Germany’s largest financial institution in Frankfurt. Kopper was 86 years old.
“With Hilmar Kopper, Deutsche Bank has lost one of its most formative personalities,” said Chairman of the Supervisory Board Paul Achleitner. CEO Christian Sewing said: “Hilmar Kopper was closely connected to our bank throughout his professional life and beyond. He was a role model for our employees.”
During his active time, Kopper, the son of a farmer from the West Prussian Oslanin, pulled the strings at important switching points in the German economy for decades: he was head of Deutsche Bank (1989-1997) and chief supervisor of the car manufacturer Daimler (1990-2007). Kopper took over the management of Deutsche Bank after the RAF assassination attempt on Alfred Herrhausen on November 30, 1989 and managed the group until May 1997. Kopper made the bank more international and promoted the expansion of investment banking through various takeovers.
Winning machine becomes a risk area
In the financial crisis of 2007/2008, the former profit machine investment banking turned out to be an expensive risk. Bonus excesses and billions in fines brought an entire business area into disrepute. In the meantime, the Deutsche Bank has evaporated the division. Investment banking includes trading in securities and foreign exchange as well as taking care of company takeovers, mergers and IPOs.
Kopper became known beyond the bank through a flippant remark: The banker described open trade bills of more than 50 million D-Marks as “peanuts” as a result of the crash of Jürgen Schneider’s real estate empire. Critics rated this as arrogance, “Peanuts” became the “bad word of the year” in 1994.
Kopper took it with humor, as he described on the occasion of his 85th birthday on March 13, 2020: The manager had himself photographed on a mountain of peanuts for an FAZ advertising campaign. “Of course I sat on the peanut truck myself,” emphasized Kopper looking back. “We laughed a lot when we were shooting in Georgia.”