Amid a debate on whether Germany should set quotas for women on the boards of major groups, Josef Ackermann acknowledged there were none on the bank’s executive committee, a subordinate body to the board of directors.
“But I hope it will be prettier and more colourful one day” when more women are placed in leadership positions, he told business daily Handelsblatt last week.
Ilse Aigner, the conservative Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister shot back in the newspaper on Monday, saying: “Those who like pretty and colourful things should go take a walk in a field of flowers or a museum.”
Free Democratic member of the European Union parliament Silvan Koch-Mehrin had already suggested that Ackermann hang pictures on his walls if he desired more colour, the paper reported.
Head of German women’s television station Sixx, Katja Hofem-Best, told the paper that the workplace was not just made “prettier and more colourful” by women, but also “more effective and successful.”
Deutsche Bank’s chief spokesman told Handelsblatt that Ackermann’s remarks were taken out of context and that he was “a gentlemen from the old school.”
Ackermann made the comments during the group’s annual press conference last week, after underscoring “the necessity to have more women in senior positions,” a spokesman told AFP.
Germany’s ruling coalition is divided on the idea of introducing quotas to correct a flagrant under-representation of women on corporate boards, an option both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ackermann oppose.
Women represent 44.3 percent of all Deutsche Bank staff but only 16.1 percent of senior managers,Handelsblatt said.