D. Post New CEO Pledges to Focus on U.S., Postbank


Deutsche Post logistics and international mail head Frank Appel took over as chief executive and pledged to focus on its loss-making U.S. business and retail bank Deutsche Postbank.

Appel, 46, became CEO following unanimous approval from Post's supervisory board on Monday, Post said in a statement, after former Chief Executive Klaus Zumwinkel resigned amid a tax-evasion probe. Appel's contract runs until Oct. 31, 2012.

The new CEO planned to "seek a solution for Postbank and the U.S. business with urgency," he told reporters shortly after his appointment was announced on Monday.

The supervisory body also agreed to extend the contract of Chief Financial Officer John Allan by two years until the end of 2010, Post said.

"The good news is that the contract of the CFO has been extended, so that gives some continuity," Morgan Stanley analyst Menno Sanderse said.

"Those are the only two things that matter," Sanderse added following Appel's comments on Postbank and the DHL business in the U.S.

Zumwinkel came under intense pressure to step down after German prosecutors said last Thursday that he was suspected of dodging about 1 million euros ($1.46 million) in taxes by transferring money to tax haven Liechtenstein.

And police investigating large-scale tax evasion linked to the principality meanwhile raided homes and offices across Germany on Monday as the tax-evasion scandal threatened to ensnare hundreds of rich Germans.

Zumwinkel had led Deutsche Post for 18 years and become a pillar of Germany's corporate establishment. The 64-year-old's contract had been due to run out in November this year.

The multi-millionaire and former McKinsey partner transformed Deutsche Post from a sleepy state monopoly to a global mail, logistics and finance group and sought to reduce Post's dependence on its domestic mail business by expanding its DHL express and logistics divisions and through acquisitions.

But he struggled to reverse losses at DHL Express in the United States, and late last year signalled he could sell retail bank unit Deutsche Postbank.

Allan joined the company after Post bought UK contract logistics firm Exel, which he had led, and was made CFO last year and given the task of restoring investor confidence in the company. Allan last month pledged to improve performance in the U.S. unit.

Appel had been lined up as Zumwinkel's successor since last year.