Industry Updates

DWS CEO in line for multi-million severance package – reports

Woehrmann could be in line for a €14m severance package

Theo Andrew

DWS building

Asoka Woehrmann, the outgoing CEO of DWS, is in line to receive millions of euros of severance pay after stepping down from his post amid allegations of greenwashing.

Karl von Rohr, chair at DWS, told shareholders at an annual general meeting (AGM) last week the firm was still negotiating the final details of Woehrmann’s remuneration package, with the final amount likely to be determined by the investigations by US and German authorities, the FT reported.

Despite reports Woehrmann resigned last week, Rohr confirmed his departure was “mutually agreed” with the business, meaning he is entitled to severance payments under the early termination clause of his executive contract.

Last year, Woehrmann, who was appointed to the end of October 2024, took home €6.9m in remuneration.

Executive severance pay is usually two annual compensation amounts, according to DWS’s annual report, meaning he could be in for a windfall of almost €14m.

However, von Rohr added these payments could be deferred and subject to clawback clauses, the FT reported.

DWS did not respond to a request for comment.

Woehrmann, who has been at the helm since 2018, announced his departure within hours of a raid of DWS and Deutsche’s offices by the Frankfurt public prosecutor, German regulator BaFin and Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

Speaking at the AGM last week in one of his final acts as CEO for DWS, Woehrmann called the greenwashing accusations unfounded in a staunch defence of the firm’s ESG strategy.

Addressing shareholders, he said: “Ladies and gentlemen, the topic of sustainability is far too significant and far too important for us to be okay with it being instrumentalized by individuals for personal gain.

“DWS had clearly positioned itself to make ESG a core part of its strategy. We never made a secret of the fact that it would take effort. Nor did we ever say that we had already reached our goal.”

Furthermore, von Rohr defended Woehrmann’s record: “Under his leadership, DWS has made an early and determined effort to build up an extensive product portfolio in sustainable investment products to allow investors access to this segment.

“By 2021, DWS was already reaping the rewards of this successful transformation. It was a year of records in terms of profit, cost-income ratio, net inflows and Assets under Management – which will be discussed later.”

Taking his place will be Stefan Hoops, former head of the corporate bank at Deutsche Bank, who in turn will be replaced by David Lynne, current head of the German bank’s corporate Asia-Pacific business.

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