Deutsche Bank’s Sewing starts to fray over tailor-made suits
Some London staff bought bespoke, £1,500 suits, which Sewing said doesn't reflect the bank’s values, as he laid off 18,000 traders
Frankfurt am Main — Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing was forced to personally rebuke managers who ordered tailors to their London office as thousands of traders were let go on Monday, after details of the pricey suit-fitting were revealed in the media.
“I can’t understand that someone would call tailors to fit suits on Monday. On the same day, we had to tell many colleagues in share trading that they had to leave,” Sewing told German business daily Handelsblatt in its Friday edition.
“I expect the two colleagues won’t forget my call,” he added, saying the London managers’ “behaviour in no way corresponds with our values”.
After two men carrying suit bags were spotted leaving the Deutsche Bank premises, London-based Financial News reported the bespoke outfits from Fielding & Nicholson were worth as much as £1,500 each.
The massive restructuring announced Sunday includes 18,000 job cuts by 2022 and a retreat from most share trading activity — the investment banking business the German lender expanded into at breakneck pace in the years before the financial crisis.
Under Sewing and previous CEO John Cryan, Deutsche Bank has struggled to shake off an image of being focused only on relentless growth and big bonuses, forking out billions of euros in lawsuits and other scandals over its conduct in the years around the crisis.
“In the past two or three years there have been no big new cases. That shows me that our bank is changing,” Sewing said.
However, in a call with journalists on Monday, the CEO — who joined Deutsche Bank in 1989 and worked his way up through the ranks until he was appointed its CEO in April 2018 — was reluctant to say whether the bank would still pay bonuses this year despite forecasting a net loss linked to the restructuring costs.
“We are aware that this is a sensitive topic, but ... Deutsche Bank will remain an international bank, and that will mean that if the performance is there that we will pay in a competitive way,” he said.
In future, Deutsche Bank plans to refocus on its home turf of Germany and Europe, as well as traditional strengths servicing corporate clients.
Many analysts have hailed the moves as necessary to re-energise the troubled banking behemoth, but some have asked whether the changes come too late to save Deutsche Bank from decline and a possible takeover.
Shares in the group were trading at €6.69 at about 9.15am GMT in Frankfurt on Friday, topping the DAX 30 index of blue-chip stocks — but was down 6.8% since Monday.