DWS boss steps down after German ‘greenwashing’ raid

DWS boss steps down after German ‘greenwashing’ raid

DWS boss steps down after German ‘greenwashing’ raid

The chief executive of DWS stepped down, the German asset manager said Wednesday, after the financial institution was raided by prosecutors in relation to “greenwashing” allegations.    

Asoka Woehrmann had “resigned as CEO of DWS Group” with the decision coming into effect after the asset manager’s annual general meeting on June 9, it said.     

The allegations against DWS and Woehrmann personally had become a “burden”, the outgoing CEO said in a statement released by DWS.

Woehrmann “played a major role in the success of our asset management in recent years,” Karl von Rohr, Deutsche Bank president and chair of DWS’s supervisory board, said in a statement.    

DWS is majority owned by Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender.

Both financial institutions were raided on May 31 by German prosecutors in relation to allegations DWS was involved in “greenwashing”, marketing its investment products as “greener” than they actually were.    

Investigators had found “sufficient indications” that “contrary to the statements in the sales prospectuses of DWS funds, ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors were actually only taken into account in a minority of investments”, they said.    

The probe was targeting “as yet unknown” employees at DWS, prosecutors said.
Woehrmann will be replaced at DWS by Stefan Hoops, currently the head of Deutsche Bank’s corporate banking operation.   

Regulators have targeted DWS since the asset manager’s former chief sustainability officer, Desiree Fixler, came forward with “greenwashing” allegations against it last year.    

ESG products have become a major asset class as financial institutions seek to bring their portfolios in line with global climate targets.