Amid losses, Deutsche Bank replaces CEO John Cryan with Christian Sewing

Alicia Cross
April 12, 2018

"We'll thoroughly analyse how we want to position this (investment banking) pillar of our bank in a hard market environment", Sewing said in the letter, which Deutsche Bank published on its website on Monday.

Cryan, a former long-standing UBS corporate financier who was instrumental in the Swiss bank's 2008 Swiss government-backed rescue, will leave Deutsche Bank at the end of this month. In his six years on the supervisory board, Deutsche has now had four CEOs.

German media are reporting that Christian Sewing, now a member of Deutsche Bank's management board, may become the new CEO of Germany's biggest lender replacing John Cryan. "We'll have to take tough decisions and execute them". He also announced that he wanted the bank to become more aggressive in pursuit of financial targets on the revenue side, urging staff to adopt a "hunter's mentality".

Mr Sewing jointly heads the private and commercial bank with Frank Strauss, who the company is also considering naming sole head of that unit.

Sewing, 47, started working for Deutsche as an apprentice in 1989 and has held roles including head of group audit and management positions in risk. Despite the changes, it failed to turn a profit in each of the past three years.

A capital raise and other measures under Cryan's leadership proved ineffective, which ultimately drew the ire of shareholders looking for a new change of direction.

Some in Germany would welcome a return to Deutche Bank's roots - it was founded during the Industrial Revolution to finance German firms' expansion overseas. Twenty years ago, there were 3,600.

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Some of the names being bandied about are ex-JPMorgan exec Matt Zames, Richard Gnodde, who heads up Goldman Sachs' worldwide operations, and Bank of America's Christian Meissner, who has global banking expertise.

"Christian Sewing's first statements do not indicate major strategic shifts, but a continued focus on costs and getting the structures right, particularly in investment banking, where we would expect further adjustments to the footprint". Yet, I question another CEO could effectively make that progress. Could the bank grow by lending more to German business?

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index has already fallen 3 percent this year, adding to an nearly 9 percent loss in 2017.

Maintaining the "status quo is not an option", they stressed.

Retail banking or investment banking? Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company bought a new stake in shares of Deutsche Bank AG during the third quarter valued at about $8,805,000.

"There is a lot of talk about our performance in and outside the bank".

However, "the financial results have so far not been what all of us would want them to be", Cryan, 57, acknowledged in a letter to employees last month while fighting to keep his job, referring to an unexpected 751 million euro loss reported for a year ago.

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