Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) supervisory board will meet on 7 to discuss a major restructuring that may result in as many as 20,000 job cuts, four people with knowledge of the matter said. CEO Christian Sewing flagged an extensive overhaul last month when he promised shareholders “tough cutbacks” to the investment bank to turn the lender around after it failed to agree a merger with rival Commerzbank (CBKG.DE).
In addition to the job cuts, Germany’s flagship lender is considering trimming its management board, three of the people said. The investment bank would be represented on the board by Sewing rather than having a seat at the table, as is currently the case. Veteran Garth Ritchie has been heading the investment bank, but a plan under discussion is to promote bankers Stefan Hoops and Mark Fedorcik to lead the division as co-heads, two of the people said. They would report to Sewing.
One of the people described the plans as fluid, with many aspects still not decided. Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the changes. Ritchie, Hoops and Fedorcik declined through a spokesman to comment.
The bank said it was working on measures to accelerate its transformation so as to improve its sustainable profitability. “We will update all stakeholders if and when required,” the bank said. Ranked as one of the most important banks in the global financial system, Deutsche has been plagued by ratings downgrades, multi-billion dollar fines and management upheavals, with investment banking often the culprit even though it generates about half of Deutsche Bank’s revenue.
RETREAT FROM INVESTMENT BANKING
After years of failing to keep pace with Wall Street’s big hitters such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank is being pushed to retreat from riskier investment banking and focus its effort on mainstream markets. Executives and investors hope the overhaul will be radical enough to turn around the bank’s fortunes after its shares fell to a record low this month.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday that Deutsche was considering cutting between 15,000 and 20,000 jobs. One of the people on Saturday said that the reduction was expected to be closer to 20,000. The bank, which had the equivalent of 91,463 employees at the end of the first quarter, has already announced plans to cut headcount to “well below” 90,000. Among other overhaul measures under discussion is the creation of a so-called bad bank to hold tens of billions of euros of non-core assets, as well as shrinking or shutting equity and rates trading businesses outside Europe, sources have said.
It also aims to dispose of up to a quarter of its riskiest assets in the next few years. Taken together, the measures are part of a significant restructuring of the investment bank, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis after decades of rapid expansion. Reporting by John O'Donnell, Hans Seidenstuecker and Tom Sims; Editing by Edmund Blair, Stephen Powell and Kevin Liffey