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Bank bounces Breuer over Kirch talk

Deutsche's board chairman ankles post on May 3

Onetime media mogul Leo Kirch has succeeded in driving topper Rolf Breuer out of Deutsche Bank. It took four years, but Breuer will ankle May 3.

Kirch blamed Breuer for the 2002 collapse of his once-vast media empire– and Germany’s highest court agreed.

In January, it ruled that Breuer violated client confidentiality in a 2002 interview in which the bank’s then-CEO cast doubt on Kirch’s creditworthiness while it was struggling under a mountain of debt.

Breuer’s decision to quit comes amid growing pressure on Deutsche Bank, which announced his ouster on Sunday. He is ankling two years before his term as supervisory chairman ends.

The court found Breuer’s comments caused lenders to refuse Kirch further credit and, shortly thereafter, Kirch Media, the group’s core division, filed for insolvency, becoming the first of several subsidiaries to go under.

The bank faces a separate lawsuit to determine the amount of damages. The January ruling limited damages Kirch can collect, since Deutsche Bank could be held liable only for damages to the Kirch Group’s Print Beteiligungs division.

Kirch’s massive insolvency resulted in a tectonic realignment of Germany’s media sector and paved the way for Haim Saban’s takeover of former Kirch broadcasting unit ProSiebenSat 1.

Kirch also once controlled pay TV broadcaster Premiere, plus Europe’s biggest film library and a significant stake in publishing giant Axel Springer.

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