John Cryan was already known to have just about the worst job of any chief executive. The Brit has been in charge of Deutsche Bank since July 2015, and the value of his bank’s stocks has plummeted by more than 50 percent since. Questions are being raised louder than ever about what Deutsche Bank wants to be and why it’s still needed at all, and the answers seem to be convincing investors less than ever before.
And on the evening of September 29, the worst job in business turned into a veritable nightmare.
The panic selling of Deutsche Bank shares began in the United States, after it was reported that several hedge-fund clients had pulled their money. Even some normal private customers in Germany became nervous and took money out of their accounts. Shareholders of the bank were likewise alarmed and began selling stock.
September 30 was even more of a roller-coaster. In the morning, the bank’s share price fell for the first time below the magic €10 mark, prompting speculation about whether the country’s top bank might need its first-ever government bailout. Shortly after, a new rumor pushed the stock price up again, but by then Mr. Cryan and Co. had already gone through several near-death experiences.
Deutsche Bank was now seriously being mentioned in the same breath with Lehman Brothers – the U.S. investment bank that declared bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, prompting a massive financial crisis and bank bailouts across the globe.
So what got us to this point?