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Is Deutsche Bank looking to oust its CEO?

March 27, 2018

Germany's biggest lender is looking to eject its CEO amid intensified boardroom tension due to the inability of the scandal-hit institution to put an end to its long list of troubles, the Times newspaper reports.

Deutsche Bank Hauptversammlung Frankfurt am Main
Image: Reuters/R.Orlowski

Deutsche Bank is seeking to replace its chief executive John Cryan as a result of an escalating row between the CEO and the bank's supervisory board chairman, Paul Achleitner, over the current situation and future direction of the troubled lender, the Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.     

The bank has approached Richard Gnodde, a senior executive of Goldman Sachs, to take on Cryan's role, the paper said. But Gnodde is reported to have turned down the offer.    

Other possible replacements considered are Jean Pierre Mustier, chief executive of the Italian banking group UniCredit and Bill Winter, chief executive of Standard Chartered, according to the Times.

Deutsche Bank was not immediately available for comment on the London newspaper's report.

Cryan and Achleitner are said to have disagreed over their approach to HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate which became the German bank's largest shareholder.

'A broken relationship'

Cryan and Deutsche Bank's chief financial officer, James von Moltke, were involved in a bitter board dispute over the bank's future, arguing for a more radical restructuring that included a complete overhaul of its investment banking division, the Times said, citing a source.

"It is quite clear the relationship is broken between the chief executive and the chairman," the source is quoted as saying.

Cryan has launched a massive restructuring of Deutsche Bank while trying to clear up the legacy of its massive global expansion in the years before the financial crisis, which has cost the bank billions in fines and compensation. But investors have grown impatient, with shares in the Frankfurt-based lender losing almost a third of their value since the start of the year.

According to his contract, though, Cryan is slated to stay on until May 2020.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank warned on costs for 2018, citing delays in some business disposals, even as the lender said it expects revenues to rise for the full year.

It also said its bonus pool would be above €2 billion ($2.49 billion) as the loss-making bank seeks to retain staff during a major overhaul.

Deutsche Bank is in the process of cutting 9,000 jobs group-wide from 2015 levels, or around one in 10 staff, with 4,000 jobs expected to go in Germany. It plans to save €3.8 billion ($4.7 billion) in gross costs from 2018. At its 2017 full-year results presentation, the bank also admitted it would not make this year's cost targets.

sri/nm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)