London: The senior ranks of Deutsche Bank are on the edge of open warfare as the process of finding a successor for Chief Executive Josef Ackermann degenerates into acrimony, a newspaper reported.

The German bank has not yet appointed a successor to Ackermann, whose contract runs until 2013, but is widely expected to retire a year early.

Under German corporate governance, a successor should be picked by the bank's supervisory board under Clemens Borsig, its chairman.

Ackermann, who has headed Deutsche since 2002, has until now been a unifying force, bridging the cultural divide between its domestic heartland and its largely London and New York-based investment bank, led by India-born Anshu Jain, the daily noted.

However, a Frankfurt-London gulf appears to be re- emerging as the process of picking a successor to the Switzerland-born chief executive stalls, it added.

The report said, "Ackermann appears increasingly opposed to the idea that the next CEO should be Jain -- the favourite of many shareholders."

Deutsche generates most of its profits within Jain's corporate and investment bank.