Jürgen Fitschen und Anshu Jain are the new CEOs of Deutsche Bank. The bankers could hardly be more different - but together, they have already set priorities, heralding a new era at the German flagship lender.
They are an odd couple: one with a willingness to take risks, the other with a down-to-earth attitude. An Indian-born international investment banker and a German Deutsche Bank veteran. Together, Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen will succeed Josef Ackermann at the helm of Deutsche Bank.
The new CEOs at Germany's flagship lender come from different family backgrounds, had different careers, are rooted in different languages and will take on different tasks at the bank.
Anshu Jain, 49, began his career as a stockbroker. Following a stint with Merrill Lynch, Jain joined Deutsche Bank's London office in 1995. He and his patron Edson Mitchell made the branch one of the world's leading investment banks. Experts respect his talent for analysis and competent packaging of financial products. The Indian-born economist and passionate cricket player, they say, has a knack for the business.
For years, Deutsche Bank's accounts reflected this 'knack'. In 2010, Jain was finally made the sole head of the Corporate and Investment Bank business - he was, in effect, the German lender's secret star and "cash cow". His department earned billions of euros - more often than not, Jain generated more revenue than his boss, Josef Ackermann. His success made him a sure candidate to follow in the Swiss director's footsteps.
Jürgen Fitschen, 63, is Jain's German counterpart in the bank's new dual leadership. He started his career as a merchant in wholesale and foreign trade, went on to study business and entered banking in 1975. He joined Deutsche Bank 12 years later.
Fitschen and Jain have in effect worked as counterparts since 2004, when Fitschen, head of Regional Management worldwide, added responsibility for the German business to his portfolio. The bank created the position to counter criticism that it neglected the domestic market; Fitschen's new position in Frankfurt was a reaction to criticism of Jain, the high achiever in London.
Shortly after Ackermann's planned replacements were announced in mid-2011, Jain's sector began to weaken. Investment banking profits dwindled considerably as a result of the state debt crisis and investors' lacking confidence. Jain's critics felt validated: for years, they had warned the massive development of the investment banking sector displaced the traditional domestic business of granting loans to industry.
Reorganization in full swing
But without the enigmatic Jain, Fitschen is almost inconceivable as Deutsche Bank CEO. Together, they set priorities even before taking office: the bank's chief economist will be replaced and two members of the board are scheduled to be replaced by younger, more international managers liable to take more risks.
When they take over power at the twin towers of Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, Jain and Fitschen will face major challenges: how to reorganize the institution in view of tougher regulations, how to streamline investment banking so it will continue to generate profit in times of shrinking revenues and how to strengthen retail banking with its Deutsche Postbank subsidiary.
Over the past few years, Deutsche Bank has survived every financial crisis without any kind of aid from the state. Instead, Ackermann strengthened the bank's long-neglected domestic retail sector with the acquisition of Berliner Bank, Norisbank, Sal. Oppenheim and Postbank.
Author: Monika Lohmüller /db
Editor: Simon Bone