Bank Overhaul

Rude Awakening for New Deutsche Duo

Paul Achleitner, Aufsichtsratschef, Deutsche Bank,  [hier: Deutsche Bank Zentrale], Frankfurt a.M., 01.04.14
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  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Investors and analysts will demand swift results from new CEO John Cryan. He will need to perform, or his mentor’s standing, already shaken by months of management turmoil, will suffer irreparably.

  • Facts


    • Some shareholders have criticized Supervisory Board Chairman Paul Achleitner, saying he should have acted sooner to stop the management turmoil at Deutsche Bank.
    • Banking sources say Mr. Cryan won’t change the bank’s recently announced strategic overhaul, which has been approved by Mr. Achleitner.
    • There is concern that several senior executives closely associated with outgoing co-chief Anshu Jain will follow him out of the bank.
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Deutsche Bank’s chairman, Paul Achleitner, had about 24 hours to enjoy the wave of positive investor reaction to his surprise announcement of a CEO replacement, before Germany’s largest bank became engulfed in yet another possible legal scandal.

On Tuesday morning, armed police raided the bank’s iconic twin-tower headquarters in Frankfurt. According to Handelsblatt sources, they were looking for information related to possible tax fraud by the bank’s customers – not its employees.

That would mark a change from many of the other legal troubles that have engulfed the bank. But the latest raid still highlighted the massive challenges facing the bank’s new chief executive, John Cryan, who will be tasked with turning around the bank’s fortunes, as well as Paul Achleitner, who is desperately hoping for a fresh start.

The chairman of Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board, which has the power to hire and fire its managers, used that very power in spectacular fashion on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Achleitner charged Mr. Cryan, a mild-mannered Brit, with steering Germany’s largest bank out of troubled waters.

The share price jumped as much as 8 percent on Monday as investors breathed relief at the resignation of co-chiefs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, who have been running the bank since 2012. Mr. Jain will leave at the end of the month, while Mr. Fitschen will remain in a transitional phase as co-CEO with Mr. Cryan until next year.

Paul Achleitner has showered his new chief executive with praise, saying in a letter to the bank’s 100,000 employees that he stood “for the personal and professional values needed to move Deutsche Bank forward and successfully implement the 2020 strategy,” referring to the massive five-year restructuring that was announced under the previous management in April.

Mr. Cryan’s name wasn’t connected with past problems at Deutsche Bank, Mr. Achleitner wrote. And in a swipe at Indian-born Anshu Jain, who is also a British citizen, Mr. Achleitner noted that Mr. Cryan even speaks German.

This eulogy, combined with thinly-veiled criticism of the departing management, is out of keeping with the usual bland statements that accompany management changeovers.

Mr. Achleitner has tied his fate to that of Mr. Cryan. A new duo is running Deutsche Bank: Mr. Cryan, the introverted details man, and Mr. Achleitner, the well-connected Austrian controller.

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