This is Germany’s new top state banker

Now it’s official: Stefan Wintels, head of Germany for many years at the major American bank Citigroup, is moving to the top of KfW. A portrait.

Stefan Wintels will be the next head of KfW.

Fans from Werder Bremen don’t have much to smile about right now. In this respect, Stefan Wintels can take the mood brightener: While his football club, which is the heart of his heart, has just been relegated to the second division, the bank manager, who was born in Nordhorn in Lower Saxony, has won the race for the top position at the state development bank KfW.

After it became known at the beginning of June that Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) had agreed after much back and forth on the longstanding head of the American bank Citigroup, the official confirmation followed on Wednesday: Wintels will begin on
October 1, shared the KfW banking group after a
Meeting of the Board of Directors in Berlin. The 54-year-old is therefore given a four-year contract. To accompany the transition, the current KfW CEO Günther Bräunig is staying four months longer and will not leave the Frankfurt-based institute until the end of October. Bräunig and Wintels will therefore act as KfW’s co-bosses in October.

Salary deterioration

With Wintels, the federal government is appointing a die-hard investment banker to head its development bank, which once again had to step in as a savior in the corona crisis: with aid loans totaling 63 billion euros, it has supported 135,000 corona-weakened companies since the beginning of the pandemic. She is also involved in many other areas of the economy, supporting home builders, students and medium-sized companies.

Wintel’s father of four is likely to have been attracted by this wide range of tasks as well as the closeness to politics and, last but not least, the abundance of power that comes with being the CEO of Germany’s third largest bank. On the pay slip, the move to the state bank is likely to be a clear step backwards. The previous KfW boss Günther Bräunig earns around 800,000 euros more than any other state employee – Wintel’s previous salary will, however, have exceeded the million mark.

Citigroup appointed the 54-year-old manager to the global decision-making committee just over a year ago as the so-called Co-Head of Financial Institutions and thus the highest-ranking German in an international investment bank. Before that, he had been head of Germany and CEO of Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG since 2013. In this role, he played a key role in ensuring that Frankfurt will become the bank’s most important location in continental Europe after Brexit.

Wintels has made a name for itself particularly in the creation of mergers and acquisitions and through the privatization of the Landesbank HSH Nordbank. The fact that he was closely wired to the then Hamburg mayor Scholz from this time is heavily denied in those around him. Rather, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Jörg Kukies, put him on the list of candidates. He knows the non-party Wintels from his time as Goldman Sachs co-head of Germany.