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Late Remorse

He was in the cross-fire of public criticism like no other top executive in Germany. Josef Ackermann, CEO of the Deutsche Bank until 2012, can look back over turbulent times. His ‘V for victory’ sign and his return-on-equity target of 25 percent, made him, for many, the bad guy of the nation. The role he played in the financial crisis is also controversial. Was he one of those who caused the misery, or did he mitigate the crisis and act as a decisive force in overcoming it? Stefan Baron, head of communications at Deutsche Bank during the crisis, paints a fascinating and up-close portrait of Josef Ackermann. Few are better placed to describe his convictions, his strengths and his weaknesses. From his uniquely close vantage point, Baron describes the way Ackermann and his attitudes changed during this epoch-making period.