Christian Sewing. Picture: REUTERS/RALPH ORLOWSKI
Christian Sewing. Picture: REUTERS/RALPH ORLOWSKI

Frankfurt — Deutsche Bank is considering slashing headcount by more than a fifth in what’s shaping up to be its biggest makeover in years, two people familiar with the matter said.

The lender under CEO Christian Sewing may decide to cut as many as 20,000 jobs when he presents his latest restructuring plan, perhaps as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. The decision hasn’t been formally adopted yet and the number may yet change, they said.

“Deutsche Bank is working on measures to accelerate its transformation so as to improve its sustainable profitability,” a spokesperson said by e-mail. “We will update all stakeholders if and when required.”

Sewing announced at the lender’s AGM in May that he was working on “tough” cutbacks after he decided to walk away from merger talks with domestic rival Commerzbank in April. His previous turnaround plan, unveiled shortly after he took over as CEO a little over a year ago, has failed to restore the bank to a healthy level of profitability.

Deutsche Bank had 91,500 staff at the end of the first quarter, down from 95,400 when Sewing took over.

The bank expects to make a formal announcement no later than July 8, one person said. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the plan to cut as many as 20,000 jobs.

Equities cull

The sweeping restructuring is likely to hit Deutsche Bank’s investment banking division the hardest, particularly its US operations as well as trading equities and interest rate derivatives, people familiar have said. The bank is planning to cut its global equities headcount by 50%, they have said.

Reuters reported on Sunday that the lender is looking to hire 300 people globally for its wealth management arm by 2021. It plans to hire those managers across Europe, the US and emerging markets, according to the report, which cited Fabrizio Campelli, global head of wealth management.

Deutsche Bank will also make changes to the management board, with investment banking head Garth Ritchie, chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat and CFO James von Moltke all potentially leaving, people familiar with the matter have said. Sewing is likely to take over formal oversight of the investment bank at the management board level, they said.

Deutsche Bank is also planning to set up a unit for assets such as long-dated interest rate derivatives it wants to wind down or sell in an effort to cut unprofitable business and free up capital for other business lines, people familiar with the matter have said. The unit could hold as much as €50bn in risk-weighted assets, they said. It had €347bn of RWAs at the end of the first quarter.