Hausler set to quit at DKB

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Gerd Häusler, chairman of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, the investment bank, looks set to become the latest senior Dresdner Bank executive to quit in the wake of last week's collapse of the bank's 30bn euro merger with Deutsche Bank.

Mr Häusler is expected to tender his resignation ahead of a top management reshuffle to be announced tomorrow, giving greater autonomy to DKB, in an attempt stop a further haemorrhage of key staff.

A meeting of Dresdner's management board is expected to approve the creation of "phantom" equity to lock highly paid investment bank employees in by giving them a share of the profits they generate for the bank.

DKB is likely to become a separate legal entity with its own brand identity, a decision likely to be followed by a commitment to substantially increased investment, both in staff and IT.

Sources inside Dresdner say that Mr Häusler is likely to be replaced as head of the investment bank by Leonhard Fischer, a former JP Morgan investment banker with experience in fixed income and derivatives trading. Also expected to go is Ernst-Moritz Lipp, a member of the management board.

Bernhard Walter, Dresdner's chief executive, quit last week, saying he was taking "political responsibility" for the collapse of the merger. The Deutsche deal foundered over disagreements over what role, if any, DKB should play in the integration of the two banks. Mr Walter sought to pin the blame for the collapse on Deutsche, but DKB staff believe the way senior Dresdner management went into the deal betrayed a serious lack of understanding about the importance to the bank of the operation, which contributed more than half of profits last year.

Mr Häusler earnt considerable respect among colleagues for his efforts to bridge the cultural gap between London and Frankfurt within the bank.

Ironically, his departure comes when the changes he fought for are about to be implemented. However, colleagues say he was bitterly disappointed by Mr Walter's failure to involve him in the pre-merger discussions and feels it is time to let someone else implement the new structure.