Deutsche Bank Reloads

Cryan-Montage Keystone, AP, Bloomberg [M]
John Cryan's will be one of the most watched first days at work. Sources: Keystone, AP, Bloomberg
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bank’s new CEO, John Cryan, needs to make major changes at Germany’s largest bank, introducing austerity measures, shaping its new strategy and restoring calm after a string of scandals.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Cryan has a reputation as a down-to-earth, classic restructurer.
    • One of his first challenges will be to shrink the bank’s balance sheet and reduce staff.
    • Critics say that creativity and the ability to spark enthusiasm in others are not his greatest strengths.
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Today is actually John Cryan’s first official day at work as new co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank.

But in the three weeks since the non-executive supervisory board decided to appoint Mr. Cryan as successor to Anshu Jain at the top of Germany’s largest bank, he has held a string of meetings with key managers at the institution.

They include Colin Fan, the co-head of Deutsche Bank’s important investment banking division, and Werner Steinmüller, the head of the successful Global Transaction Banking division.

Since Mr. Cryan served as a member of Deutsche’s supervisory board since 2013, the new co-CEO is already familiar with the bank’s strategy, but he has had little contact with its top managers until his sudden appointment to the top post. He will also have the help of co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen, who will aid the transition by remaining at the helm with Mr. Cryan for the next year.

What’s clear already is that Mr. Cryan, a Brit, is set on change and plans to run Deutsche Bank differently than his predecessors.

Those who spoke with him in the past few weeks describe Mr. Cryan as a “classic restructurer,” someone who is determined to consistently reduce the bank’s costs – and with as little fuss as possible.

“Implementing the planned austerity measures is at the very top of John Cryan’s agenda,” said a source at Deutsche Bank management.

This will include significantly shrinking the bank’s balance sheet and reducing staff, though it remains unclear just how severe the cuts will be.

Mr. Cryan will not make any concrete decisions until the fall, bank officials said. That goes for other changes, too. The new Deutsche Bank co-CEO has not decided yet whether to shake up the assignment of responsibilities within the management board, for example.

It is also quite conceivable that Mr. Cryan, whose background is in consulting rather than as a high-flying trader or investment banker, will not assume the responsibility for investment banking,  said a bank manager. That is a task that was held by Mr. Jain, who unlike Mr. Cryan had long been associated with the high-flying investment bankers of the pre-2008 crisis era.

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