Mild confusion and paranoia inside Deutsche Bank this summer

The mood inside Deutsche Bank may not be great right now. After all, if you’re one of the Deutsche Bank employees who’s just been banned from rolling over five days’ holiday from this year to next, it’s a bit late to extend your summer break. Nor will you be the only one with a grievance. 

From querying the new management structure to worrying about further redundancies and questioning what will become of the tie-up with BNP Paribas, Deutsche insiders have plenty to think about this August. Intermingled with these concerns are also worries that Deutsche has stepped up efforts to monitor communications shared externally.

Deutsche Bank announced the full line-up of new managers at its corporate and investment bank (CIB) this time two weeks ago. Bloomberg reported them at the time but the names don’t appear to have been shared more widely, possibly because there’s some paranoia internally over likely apocryphal but nonetheless effective rumours that company emails are now being “invisibly watermarked” as CEO Christian Sewing tries to prevent leaks to the press. 

The new heads of Deutsche’s investment bank in EMEA are Henrik Johnsson and Gavin Colquhoun. Deutsche’s investment bank in APAC is now headed up by Amit Khattar and Anthony Miller. In the German-speaking countries, the new co-heads are Patrick Frowein and Berthold Fuerst. And the new heads of global FIG coverage are Stephen Valentino and Hubert Vannier. Separately, Anurag Singhal is head of financing coverage in Europe and Lorenzo Frontini’s (previously head of the EMEA financing solutions group) new role is still unclear. 

Deutsche isn’t commenting on the new managers in its CIB and isn’t the only bank with a co-head structure. Even so, some at the bank are questioning why so many of DB’s functions are still divided between two people, particularly as Deutsche’s co-heads were often blamed for the bank’s highly competitive culture in the past. “This re-org is so unclear that it looks like politics rather than common sense,” says one DB insider. “We’re expecting that these roles will be redefined over time.”

A redefinition might not happen. Valentino and Vannier are on different continents and might be expected to share a role. Johnsson is a debt capital markets banker by trade, while Colquhoun is a credit trader. Political promotions aside, the bigger implication is that primary and secondary fixed income markets will be at the heart of Deutsche’s EMEA investment bank in future. 

Deutsche’s bankers aren’t just worrying about the longevity of their new tier two leaders though. Following last week’s London town hall with new global head of the investment bank, Mark Fedorcik, some are concerned too about the dynamic in the top leadership team. Fedorcik “argued” with the CFO of the investment bank according to one attendee. – Others present say it was just “light-hearted banter,” but in the febrile atmopshere inside DB, things can clearly be misconstrued. 

It doesn’t help that Deutsche still has plenty of redundancies to make. The bank wants to remove around 18,000 jobs globally, but just 900 had gone at the last count, with more cuts promised. Nor does it help that Deutsche’s electronic trading staff still don’t know what’s to come of the proposed tie-up with BNP Paribas. “We’re in limbo,” said one, claiming that global co-head of electronic equities Ryan O’Sullivan has promised to “see the deal through to completion,” which could imply that he intends to leave once a deal takes place. “The rumor is that the guys from BNP are preparing to take all the top jobs,” says the same DB insider. Again, this may well be apocryphal, but it reflects the friction inside DB right now. – Deutsche Bank staff are in need of a long holiday on a hot beach. 


Sarah Butcher – Read more on efinancialcareers.com

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