A four-member chairman's committee is responsible for selecting a new chief executive, but any formal announcement of a replacement for Josef Ackermann will need to be signed off by the rest of the 20-member supervisory board.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
Deutsche Bank's succession process centers on how to keep investment banking boss Anshu Jain. That is despite the view among key members of the supervisory board and current chief executive Josef Ackermann that it is too early for him to be standalone CEO, people familiar with the matter said.
Jain, 48, is seen as a strong candidate because he heads Deutsche's most profitable division.
He draws support from what is known to be Anshu's army, legions of traders and bankers who bring in revenue, a factor that gives him an edge over rival Hugo Baenziger, the bank's chief risk officer.
Deutsche Bank has been on the lookout for an all-rounder candidate who is respected by investment banking staff but who also can find acceptance in political circles in Berlin and the German corporate establishment.
Ackermann favored external candidate Axel Weber but Deutsche Bank is now focused on internal candidates to take over after the former Bundesbank head spurned the role to become chairman-designate at UBS
Because Jain and Baenziger lack a network of political support in Germany, the bank may have to appoint a co-CEO. Possible candidates include Deutsche's Germany chief Juergen Fitschen, retail chief Rainer Neske or Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause.
Some members of Deutsche Bank's supervisory board have even discussed asking CEO Ackermann to make himself available as head of the supervisory board, another person familiar with the discussions said.
The supervisory board is currently headed by Clemens Boersig who is also formally in charge of the succession process.
But elevating Ackermann will prove difficult because German corporate governance rules force members of the management board to wait two years before moving on to the supervisory board.
Only if more than 25 percent of shareholders at Deutsche Bank agree does an immediate switch to the supervisory board become possible. Ackermann himself has said he is not interested in joining the supervisory board.
Sitting on Deutsche Bank's chairman's committee are Boersig himself, Tilman Todenhoefer, as well as Karin Ruck and Alfred Herling.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)