A stitch in time: Christian Sewing has been identified as the man to reverse the misfortunes of Germany’s Deutsche Bank, after three successive years of losses under Briton John Cyran Picture: REUTERS
A stitch in time: Christian Sewing has been identified as the man to reverse the misfortunes of Germany’s Deutsche Bank, after three successive years of losses under Briton John Cyran Picture: REUTERS

Frankfurt — Christian Sewing, co-deputy CEO of Deutsche Bank, is set to become the new CEO of Germany’s biggest lender, replacing John Cryan, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

Sewing, a German national, would replace Cryan, a Briton, at a time when the bank is trying to strengthen its brand in its home market. Cryan has been in office less than three years but investors have lost faith that he can return the bank to profitability after three consecutive years of losses.

The promotion of Sewing, 47, with a background in commercial banking, auditing and risk, comes as Deutsche Bank and its major shareholders debate the path forward for the investment banking unit where revenues have dried up and key staff have defected.

His appointment could signal a shift away from the bank’s strategy of seeking profit growth through investment banking and giving investment bankers greater influence.

Preferred option

Marcus Schenck, Sewing’s fellow co-deputy CEO who also helps oversee the investment bank, is close to leaving the bank, said the source. Sewing topped a list of candidates as the preferred option to be presented by bank chairman Paul Achleitner at a hastily arranged board call on Sunday evening, the source said.

Sewing would assume the helm at the company’s annual general meeting in May, German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website. Der Spiegel was first to report on Sunday that Sewing would probably become the bank’s next CEO.

Deutsche Bank said late on Saturday that the board would discuss the CEO position and make a decision.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Sunday.

In picking up the baton, Sewing would also face similar challenges, including further cost cutting, intense competition at home and abroad and increased regulation.

Sewing, a member of the management board since 2015, currently oversees the bank’s private and commercial bank division, which includes the Postbank retail banking unit.

He joined Deutsche Bank in 1989 and has worked in Frankfurt, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto, according to the bank’s website.

Sewing’s appointment would be a blow to Schenck, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker long considered a future CEO at Deutsche.

Schenck had signalled he was looking for opportunities outside the bank. Garth Ritchie would stay on as sole head of the investment bank, said the person familiar with the matter.

Sunday’s board call will follow two weeks of turmoil over the bank’s leadership.

Achleitner had initiated a search to replace Cryan, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on March 27, following a flurry of negative headlines after the bank reported a third consecutive annual loss.

Cryan responded by writing a memo to staff in which he said he remained "absolutely committed" to the bank.

But Achleitner stayed silent, to the disappointment of major investors seeking clarity. Sunday’s board call was intended to provide that clarity.

The leadership debate underscores the continued fragility of the 148-year-old bank after speculation of a possible government bailout just over a year ago.

Reuters

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