Damage Limitation

Time For Cryan to Deliver

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan gestures at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, in this February 10, 2009 file photo. Deutsche Bank will report a record pre-tax loss of 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in the third quarter and will cut or skip dividend payments for 2015, it said late on Wednesday. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
John Cryan has a lot to think about in 2016.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bank chief John Cryan is struggling to persuade investors that his restructuring plans will pay off.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Deutsche Bank said it lost nearly €7 billion last year, sending its shares sliding nearly 10 percent.
    • Trade union representatives are jittery ahead of restructuring, which will likely include 200 branch closures and 9,000 job cuts.
    • Deutsche Bank is expected to float at least some of its retail subsidiary Postbank in 2016, but may face steep losses in the process.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

John Cryan took his place at the podium in the conference center in Davos at 4.15 p.m. on the dot on Wednesday, only to find that World Economic Forum discussions were delayed.

For about five minutes Mr. Cryan, Germany’s most powerful banker, waited without uttering a word to his neighbors, IMF head Christine Lagarde and PayPal chief Dan Schulman. Germany’s most powerful banker only came to life when the debate kicked off, calmly offering his take on the banking world.

His performance matched the British banker’s reputation after some six months at the top of Deutsche Bank. Mr. Cryan is not a man of grand words and big gestures. Those who deal with him praise his expertise and meticulous knowledge, but he remains aloof and introverted.

He does not play the zappy hero, like Josef Ackermann, who was at the bank’s helm from 2002 to 2012, or as a wily financial markets whizz kid, like Anshu Jain, who was co-chief from 2012 to 2015. In fact, Mr. Cryan is the antithesis of charismatic, with a deeply furrowed brow that reveals the pressures of the industry’s top job. He does not try to sugarcoat anything; he focuses on the facts. With characteristic consistency he analyzes, calculates and processes.

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