Deutsche Bank appoints Christian Sewing as CEO, replacing John Cryan

Eileen GuzmanApr 09, 2018

Deutsche Bank has announced chief executive John Cryan is to step down from his role with immediate effect. Following weeks of speculation, the move is to come late Sunday during a supervisory board meeting at the bank's Frankfurt headquarters.

Deutsche Bank has seen three top leadership appointments in six years amid pressure from investors to improve profitability and reverse a share slump.

Sewing is now the German lender's co-deputy chief executive officer and co-head of the private and commercial bank. His promotion comes as the bank and its major shareholders debate the path forward for Deutsche's investment banking unit, where revenues have slowed and key staff defected. "It seems rather to be a fundamental "Deutsche Bank problem". While Cryan's contract runs until 2020, press reports in recent days have suggested a rift over strategy with supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner, who called Sunday's meeting.

He joined Deutsche Bank in 1989 and has worked in Frankfurt, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto.

Marcus Schenck, now Sewing's fellow co-deputy CEO who also helps oversee the investment bank, will also leave. Given sole command of the lender in 2016 after the departure of co-CEO Juergen Fitschen, Cryan's task was to restructure Deutsche and clean up the toxic legacy of its pre-financial crisis bid to compete with global investment banking giants.

Cryan will leave at the end of this month, the bank said.

The debate also parallels concern about the direction of Deutsche's investment bank, whose swift expansion in the years leading up to the financial crisis is blamed for numerous bank's current woes. But under his tenure the German lender has struggled to make a profit, reporting its third consecutive annual loss in 2017. He has been a member of the management board since 2015.

Deutsche said Garth Ritchie, now co-head of the investment bank, and Karl von Rohr, chief administrative officer, would become co-presidents. Der Spiegel was first to report on Sunday that Sewing would likely become the bank's next CEO. While the bank said the loss was a one-off caused by US President Donald Trump's corporate tax reform, investors have shunned Deutsche since the start of the year, with its stock dropping around 30 percent in value since January 1.

But his tumultuous tenure as CEO highlights numerous bank's underlying issues.

Some of Germany's most senior politicians criticized him for paying 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in staff bonuses, four times higher than the previous year, after the bank made losses in 2017.

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