Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deutsche Bank succession

BS ran an interesting Reuters story yesterday on Deutsche Bank planning for a future without its rainmaker, Anshu Jain. I must say that my respect for the institution went up enormously after I read the story.

Anshu Jain heads the investment banking division which accounts for 70-80% of the bank's profit in recent years. But the supervisory board is inclined to believe, so the story goes, that Jain is not the right person to succeed Josef Ackermann as CEO because the bank needs to cut back its dependence on investment banking and invest more in stable businesses such as retail banking and wealth management. That's a brave decision to take, even if justified by the experience in the recent crisis.

The board is also not in favour of Jain because it believes that the next CEO must enjoy the confidence of the German political and corporate establishment, which criterion, apparently, Jain does not meet.

What if Jain decides to leave? The board is keen to retain him but is not fazed by the prospect of his departure because "everybody is replaceable" and "You cannot be held to ransom". Well said, indeed.

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