JC Flowers’ German head departs

The financial services-focused firm’s presence in the country has been scaled back to a skeleton staff in its Hamburg office. Renate Krümmer has resigned, while all operational activity is now being handled from London and New York.

JC Flowers’ German chief, Renate Krümmer, has departed the firm to pursue other interests two years after joining the firm. Going forward the firm will have no full-time operational presence in the country, shifting all its activity to its existing London and New York offices.

JC Flowers’ Hamburg office will remain open, but with only a skeletal administrative staff. The focus of the firm’s German activity has shifted from making investments to managing its current portfolio “for the foreseeable future”, the firm said in a statement.

Prior to her appointment to JC Flowers in early 2007, Krümmer had been head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions at German media conglomerate Bertelsmann and head of strategy for Frankfurt-based banking group Commerzbank.

Krümmer’s departure follows the firm’s troubled investment in German real estate lender Hypo Real Estate, which is now on the brink of nationalisation following a bail-out by the German government.

JC Flowers, along with real estate fund manager Grove International, bought a 24 percent stake in the bank last June for around €1.1 billion. The consortium offered €22.50 a share for the stake. As of press time, shares in Hypo were trading at €1.16.

Krümmer will relinquish her seat on Hypo’s board.

Flowers’ other significant German investment is a 25.6 percent stake in German Landesbank HSH Nordbank, for which it paid €1.25 billion in 2006. HSH has since required further capital injections from Flowers and its other shareholders, and is currently in talks to secure further funding from SoFFin, the German government’s bank rescue fund.