Axel Wieandt (born September 19, 1966 in Bochum) is a German manager. From 2008 to 2010, he served as Chief executive officer of Hypo Real Estate Bank.
Family and academic background
Axel Wieandt was born in Bochum (Germany) as the son of Paul Wieandt, who later became a well known German banker. In 1986 he started his academic studies at the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU), where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration (“Diplom Kaufmann”). Between 1988 and 1990 he was a scholar of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. In 1992, he earned an MBA degree at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (Illinois), supported by a DAAD scholarship. In 1993 earned a doctorate degree in Business Administration (“Dr. rer. pol.”) at the WHU with Professor Horst Albach as his thesis advisor.
Wieandt started his career 1993 with McKinsey & Company in Düsseldorf and Boston. Between 1997 and 1998 he worked for Morgan Stanley in London in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Restructuring Department.
In 1998, he left Morgan Stanley to join Deutsche Bank. In 2000 Wieandt became the youngest divisional head in Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Center. As Head of Corporate Development, Wieandt and his team were in charge of developing Deutsche Bank’s Group strategy as well as executing strategic transactions. From 2003 on, he was also appointed Global Head of Corporate Investments, with responsibility for the bank’s entire investment portfolio.
Hypo Real Estate (HRE)
In October 2008, Axel Wieandt was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of Hypo Real Estate (HRE), at the time when the company was experiencing severe financial difficulties as a result of the financial crisis. Under Wieandt’s predecessor, Georg Funke, HRE had run into a liquidity crisis because of its subsidiary DEPFA Bank, following the failure of Lehman Brothers. The only way of saving HRE was through substantial guarantees of liquidity and capital injections from the German government. State support was justified on the basis of the bank’s systemic relevance. Over the course of 2009, Germany’s Federal Government ultimately became the sole owner of HRE.
During his chairmanship pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank was launched as the “new strategic core bank” of HRE Group. HRE’s strategic portfolio was bundled in pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, which concentrated on new business while focussing its operations on Real Estate and Public Sector Finance. Through this “good bank”, new German “Pfandbriefe” were again placed in the market. In addition, the set-up of a “bad bank”, FMS Wertmanagement, was initiated. In addition to his position as Chairman of the Management Board, Wieandt was appointed Chief Financial Officer in December 2008 and, as of February 2009, he was assigned responsibility for the Real Estate division of HRE.
On March 25, 2010, he offered his resignation as Chief executive officer to the Supervisory Board of HRE. The Supervisory Board accepted and released him from his duties. According to a HRE press release, the reasons cited for this were differences in opinion regarding the management of the company between the CEO and the Financial Market Stabilization Fund (SoFFin, the governmental entity that owns HRE). According to insiders, Wieandt demanded more entrepreneurial freedom from the government, the sole owner of HRE. Whereas according to Wieandt, the bank’s core capital ratio should be kept above ten percent, the SoFFin’s Chief executive Hannes Rehm had promised a “gentle handling” of taxpayers’ money and urged for a lower figure. Another point of contention centred on the question as to whether discretionary compensation payments amounting to € 25 million could be contractually agreed with key personnel relevant for the restructuring of HRE. Wieandt feared an exodus of specialists, which was already the case in HRE’s locations in New York and Dublin, where competitors were recruiting with higher compensation. These gaps later had to be filled by far more expensive consultants. However, SoFFin initially refused the discretionary compensation payments. The third reason for Wieandt’s departure from HRE was connected to SoFFin efforts to push through extensive disclosure obligations within short time intervals. In the case of non-compliance, contractual penalties in the millions were to apply, which the bank could then require its Management Board members to pay. Wieandt opposed such increased liabilities. According to insiders, this was actually the crucial point.
Return to Deutsche Bank
On June 1, 2010, Wieandt returned to Deutsche Bank, where he was a Managing Director in the Corporate Center responsible for Integration Management.
On July 1, 2011 Wieandt joined the Investment Banking Department of Credit Suisse as a Managing Director. There he was responsible for covering Corporate and Financial Institutions clients in Germany and Austria, and from 2012 onwards he was also asked to cover Financial Institutions in Scandinavia and Russia. In June 2012, Axel Wieandt announced his departure from Credit Suisse.
On October 26, 2012, Axel Wieandt was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of the Valovis Bank. The former Karstadt-Quelle-Bank is a specialist for credit cards, real estate financing and factoring in the German market. On the back of write-downs on Greek government bonds in December 2011 the bank had to be rescued by the Association of German Banks (Bundesverband deutscher Banken, BdB). According to the German daily newspaper FAZ Wieandt takes over a “difficult restructuring case”. In the Valovis press release he says that “we will critically examine the business model and take the necessary measures to stabilize the bank”.
Since 2002 Axel Wieandt has been teaching at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management; since 2005 as Honorary Professor.
He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the European Trust for the Cathedral of Speyer since 2009.
Since 2009, Wieandt holds the position of EMEA Chairman of the Kellogg Alumni Council.
His father Paul Wieandt was Chief executive officer of Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz, Bank für Gemeinwirtschaft (BfG) and SchmidtBank. His sister Dorothee Blessing is a partner at Goldman Sachs and is married to Martin Blessing, Chief executive officer of Commerzbank. His brother Carl Wieandt was a partner at McKinsey & Company. Axel Wieandt is married and has two children. He spends his holidays on the North Sea island of Föhr.
- Selected Articles
- Contestable markets - ein Leitbild für die Wettbewerbspolitik? (with Harald Wiese), in: ORDO, Vol. 44, 1993, pp. 185 – 202.
- Versunkene Kosten und strategische Unternehmensführung, in: ZfB, Vol. 64, 1994, H.8, pp. 99 – 116.
- Innovation and the Creation, Development and Destruction of Markets in the World machine Tool Industry, in: Small Business Econcomics, Vol. 6, 1994, pp. 421 – 437.
- Biotechnology: The emerging battlefield for US and Japanese pharmaceutical companies (with Naseem Amin), in: Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Vol. 6, No. 4, 1994, pp. 423 – 435.
- Die Entwicklung von Märkten durch Innovationen, in: ZfbF, No. 10, October 1994, pp. 852 – 870.
- Deutsche Bank: Auf profitables Wachstum eingestellt (with Michael Bachschuster), in: Sebastian Raisch, Gilbert Probst, Peter Gomez (Hrsg.): Wege zum Wachstum - Wie Sie nachhaltigen Unternehmenserfolg erzielen, April 2007, pp. 218 – 233.
- Neuausrichtung der Deutschland AG (with Dr. Anna Magdalena Haslinger), in: Martin Glaum, Ulrich Hommel, Dieter Thomaschewski (Hrsg.): Internationalisierung und Unternehmenserfolg, November 2007, pp. 339 – 359.
- Herausforderung Klimawandel - Die Finanzmarktperspektive (with Thorsten Peppler), in: Die Bank, Heft September 2008, pp. 12 – 17.
- Deutsche Pfandbriefbank als Immobilien- und Staatsfinanzierer, in: Immobilien & Finanzierung, October 2009, pp. 658 – 660.
- Too Big to Fail? - Leçons de la crise financière (with Sebastian Mönninghoff), in: Revue d'économie financière, 2011.