On Sunday April 8, the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank appointed Christian Sewing as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect.
Sewing will replace John Cryan who will leave the bank at the end of April along with Marcus Schenck who was also in the running for the position.
In a statement following the announcement, Chairman of the Supervisory Board Paul Achleitner, said: “Despite his relatively short tenure as CEO, John Cryan has played a critical role in the almost 150 year history of Deutsche Bank – and laid the groundwork for a successful future of the bank.
“The Supervisory Board in general and I personally are grateful for this. However, following a comprehensive analysis we came to the conclusion that we need a new execution dynamic in the leadership of our bank.”
“In his more than 25 years at Deutsche Bank Christian Sewing has proven himself a strong and disciplined leader. The Supervisory Board is convinced that he and his team will be able to successfully lead Deutsche Bank into a new era. We trust in the great ability of this bank and its many talents.”
Who is Christian Sewing?
Career this far:
1989: Apprenticeship with Deutsche Bank
2005-2007: Member of Management Board of Deutsche Genossenschafts-Hypothekenbank
2010-2012: Chief Credit Officer
2012-2013: Deputy Chief Risk Officer
2013-2015: Head of Group Audit
2015-2018: Jointly responsible for Deutsche Bank’s Private & Commercial Bank (including Postbank) together with Frank Strauß
2018-: Chief Executive Officer
Trivia: Keen tennis player (source: Handelsblatt)
What does Christian Sewing think?
The decision by the Supervisory Board to appoint a Deutsche Bank insider is an interesting one. Indeed, in an internal message to Deutsche Bank employees, Sewing emphasises the importance of using the bank’s human talent.
Sewing makes no pretence around the challenges that need facing up to, particularly acknowledging the pace of industry change. “The time pressure is on,” he said, “and the expectations are high from all sides - our clients, our investors, the regulators, politicians and the media.”
He outlined Deutsche Bank’s response as something to “actively manage”, making faster and clearer decisions, collaborating better and putting “team spirit at the heart of what we do” and a top-down approach starting with the board.
He further explained the 2018 forecast and his recipe for success. Talking about Deutsche Bank’s recently declining revenues Sewing called upon his staff to “regain our hunger for business”, with renewed efforts to growth in both the business and infrastructure functions.
Perhaps more importantly, he laid down the law as well as strict financial targets: “Our adjusted costs must not exceed 23 billion euros in 2018. This is non-negotiable. We have largely put in place the programmes to get there, now we will implement them with discipline.” He further stated that the setbacks of quarter 4 in 2017 are not to be repeated, under any circumstance.
But Sewing remains ultimately optimistic about the future, pointing at how the bank has made good progress on learning from past mistakes, re-emphasising the need for faster execution through the revision of “internal processes to eliminate bureaucracy and duplication.”
Sewing elaborated on this revised focus, discussing that the “priority is to leverage our strengths and to allocate our investments accordingly,” and “at the same time we will look to free up capacity for growth by pulling back from those areas where we are not sufficiently profitable.” Overall, Sewing has called for a client-focused approach, offering “convincing solutions rather than just products.”
It is, of course, far too early to tell what this new revised and refocused approach will bring - reallocation to strengthen rather than expand, a reliance on internal talent and a renewed top-down team spirit - but it is a welcome end to a few chaotic weeks at Deutsche Bank.
Read the full statement message here.