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Deutsche Bank boss to step down amid continued losses

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Image caption Deutsche Bank's chief executive John Cryan will leave at the end of April

The boss of Deutsche Bank is stepping down two years early amid continued losses at Germany's biggest lender.

John Cryan is replaced by co-deputy chief executive Christian Sewing.

British-born Mr Cryan has held the job since 2015 during which time the bank has reported three years of losses.

Chairman Paul Achleitner said: "Following a comprehensive analysis we came to the conclusion that we need a new execution dynamic in the leadership of our bank."

The lender has faced a sales slowdown and its share price has fallen 30% this year.

Mr Cryan will leave Deutsche Bank at the end of the month. His contract was due to run until 2020.

Mr Achleitner said: "Despite his relatively short tenure as chief executive, John Cryan has played a critical role in the almost 150 year history of Deutsche Bank – and laid the groundwork for a successful future of the bank. The supervisory board in general and I personally are grateful for this."

Mr Sewing, who has been with Deutsche Bank for more than 25 years, has been appointed as chief executive with "immediate effect".

Emergency meeting

Deutsche Bank announced the decision after an emergency board meeting, called by Mr Achleitner, to discuss succession on Sunday.

According to Reuters, he began a search to replace Mr Cryan after the bank reported an annual loss of €500m (£436m) at the end of February.

That followed losses of €6.8bn in 2015 and €1.4bn in 2016.

Mr Cryan was appointed as co-chief executive in July 2015 to overhaul the bank following a number of regulatory problems stretching back to before the financial crisis.

He was also tasked with controlling the bank's spiralling costs and quickly cut thousands of jobs.

However, after becoming sole chief executive in 2016, the lender continued to struggle, in large part because of a slump in its investment banking division which accounts for more than half of sales.

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In resolving its legal difficulties, it also incurred a series of heavy penalties, including a $7.2bn (£5.9bn) payment to US authorities in 2016 over an investigation into mortgage-backed securities.

At that time, it was considered to be the most dangerous bank in the world after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that a potential collapse of Deutsche posed the biggest risk to the stability of the global financial system.

Also in June 2016, Deutsche Bank's US division failed a stress test conducted by the Federal Reserve, America's central bank.

Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander's US unit were the only two of 33 banks to fail the test to see how they would perform in a financial crisis.

Markus Riesselmann, an analyst at Independent Research, told the AFP news agency: "[Mr Cryan] had to battle serious problems that his predecessors swept under the rug for years.

"He's largely cleared those up and now it looks like Deutsche can't turn things around regarding margins. But I doubt a new chief executive could successfully make that transition.

"It seems rather to be a fundamental 'Deutsche Bank problem'."

Commenting on the new chief executive, Mr Achleitner said: "In his more than 25 years at Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing has proven himself a strong and disciplined leader.

"The supervisory board is convinced that he and his team will be able to successfully lead Deutsche Bank into a new era. We trust in the great ability of this bank and its many talents."

According to observers, his appointment points to a strategic shift at the lender towards retail banking in its home market Germany.

Mr Sewing was most recently responsible for Deutsche Bank's private and commercial bank.

Deutsche Bank also announced that the co-head of its corporate and investment banking, Marcus Schenck, is leaving.

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Carlos Ghosn : Renault names interim replacement

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Image caption Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on Monday

Renault has appointed a temporary deputy chief executive to take over the running of the French car firm following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

Renault said its chief operating officer, Thierry Bolloré, would step up to the role because Mr Ghosn was "temporarily incapacitated".

Following an emergency board meeting, Renault said Mr Ghosn would remain as its chairman and chief executive.

But it said Mr Bolloré would lead the firm with the same powers as Mr Ghosn.

Mr Ghosn was arrested in Japan on Monday after allegations of financial misconduct.

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As well as Renault, he is also chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors and leads an alliance of the three carmakers.

Japanese prosecutors say Mr Ghosn under-reported his income from running Nissan by 5bn yen (£34.5m) over five years.

On Tuesday evening, Renault said: "At this stage, the board is unable to comment on the evidence seemingly gathered against Mr Ghosn by Nissan and the Japanese judicial authorities."

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that Mr Ghosn was planning a merger between Renault and Nissan but that the Japanese company was opposed to a deal.

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Image caption Thierry Bolloré has been appointed as Renault's deputy chief executive

Mr Bolloré is already in charge of many day-to-day activities at Renault.

The company said its decision to name him as deputy chief executive was a "transitional governance" measure "to preserve the interests of the group and the continuity of its operations".

Earlier, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Mr Ghosn was "no longer in a position" to lead the carmaker in which the French state has a 15% stake.

He also said Renault's partnership with Nissan remained in the interests of both France and Japan and of both companies.

Nissan and Mitsubishi are both preparing to remove him from his posts.

But Mitsubishi Motors chief executive Osamu Masuko said the alliance would be difficult to manage without Mr Ghosn.

Nissan has a 34% controlling stake in the smaller Japanese carmaker.

What has happened so far?

In a press conference on Monday, Nissan said an internal investigation prompted by a whistleblower had revealed "significant acts of misconduct" including "personal use of company assets".

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The announcement sent shockwaves through the automotive industry where Mr Ghosn, 64, is seen as a titan, responsible for a dramatic turnaround at Nissan in the early 2000s.

Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said "too much authority was given to one person in terms of governance".

"I have to say that this is a dark side of the Ghosn era which lasted for a long time," he said, adding he was still debating whether Mr Ghosn was "a charismatic figure or a tyrant".

What are the accusations?

Prosecutors later said in a statement that Mr Ghosn and senior executive Greg Kelly had conspired to understate Mr Ghosn's compensation, starting in 2010.

Mr Ghosn is accused of filing annual securities reports containing fake statements, which could mean up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of 10m yen, or both.

From 2010, Japanese firms have been required to disclose the salaries of executives who earn more than 100m yen.

Japanese prosecutors also said they had already raided Nissan's Yokohama headquarters, near Tokyo, as part of their investigation.

There has been no comment from Mr Ghosn or Mr Kelly.

How will this affect the Alliance?

As misconduct revelations emerged, the future of the car alliance led by Mr Ghosn remained unclear.

He has been credited with turning around both Nissan and Renault before becoming the linchpin of the alliance the companies later formed.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance sold 10.61 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2017, making it the number-one automotive group worldwide.

Nissan chief executive Mr Saikawa insisted the partnership would "not be affected by this event".

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E. coli outbreak: Romaine lettuce probed in US and Canada

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Image caption People in both the US and Canada have been infected

Romaine lettuce has been linked to an outbreak of E. coli in the US and Canada, health officials say.

At least 32 people have been sickened in the US, with 13 taken to hospital, while another 18 people have been stricken in Canada.

US officials said consumers, restaurants and retailers should throw away all kinds of romaine lettuce.

The latest outbreak follows the deaths of at least five people in the summer linked to romaine lettuce.

However, the latest statement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says this outbreak is not directly related to the cases earlier in 2018, with a slightly different DNA fingerprint for this strain of the illness.

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People began to fall ill in early October. An investigation into the outbreak is ongoing.

In Canada, the 18 cases were reported in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The infections in the US are spread over 11 states.

In June, five people died and hundreds of people were infected across 35 US states after a romaine lettuce-linked E. coli outbreak.

The illness can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and even kidney failure in severe cases.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

Avoiding E. coli infection

  • Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before and after handling food, and after handling animals
  • Remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and salads
  • Wash all vegetables and fruits that will be eaten raw
  • Store and prepare raw meat and unwashed vegetables away from ready-to-eat foods
  • Do not prepare raw vegetables with utensils that have also been used for raw meat
  • Cook all minced meat products, such as burgers and meatballs, thoroughly
  • People who have been ill should not prepare food for others for at least 48 hours after they have recovered

Source: Public Health England

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