Deutsche Bank (DB) is expected to oust British CEO John Cryan and replace him with the German head of the private and commercial banking division. Germany’s biggest lender has experienced three years of losses.The German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel and business newspaper Handelsblatt said that 47-year-old Christian Sewing would be taking over in May from John Cryan, who has been at the helm since 2015. Sewing is currently a deputy CEO and head of the private and commercial banking division.
The decision is expected to be taken on Sunday evening during a supervisory board meeting called at DB’s Frankfurt headquarters.
Cryan’s five-year contract technically runs until 2020, but media reports suggest that there is a rift over strategy between him and supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner, who called Sunday’s meeting.
DB declined to comment on the reports but said the Sunday meeting was intended “to discuss the chairmanship and to take a decision the same day.”
The choice of Sewing over investment banking chief Marcus Schenck, who had been tapped as a possible successor to Cryan, indicates a strategic shift toward retail banking in DB’s home market of Germany. Rumors of a change in leadership had been floating for a while.
Sewing began his career at DB as a trainee bank officer before studying at Germany’s banking academies and rising through management. He has been a member of the executive since 2015. In March last year Sewing was appointed deputy CEO alongside Schenck. He has also been working with the head of Germany’s Postbank to integrate the Bonn-based subsidiary into DB’s private and commercial division.
Cryan failed to heal ‘chronic patient’
Cryan’s remit at DB was to restructure and change its pre-2008-financial-crisis image, which saw the German financial powerhouse competing with global investment banking giants. Under Cryan, DB paid billions in fines and compensation to deal with some of the legal threats the bank had been facing.
John Cryan acknowledged in a letter to employees last month while fighting to keep his position that “the financial results have so far not been what all of us would want them to be.” He was referring to an unexpected €751 million ($904 million) loss reported for 2017 as well as a massive fall in the value of its shares.
Regardless of who fills the leadership position, Handelsblatt wrote last month that DB remained “what it was when Cryan took the helm: a chronic patient”.
ss/jm (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
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