No luck for Deutsche Bank as it trawls for new CEO

Search shows tensions between sitting CEO John Cryan and chairman Paul Achleitner

Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan: Bank of America Corp’s Christian Meissner and ex-JPMorgan Chase and Co executive Matt Zames have been approached to replace him. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan: Bank of America Corp’s Christian Meissner and ex-JPMorgan Chase and Co executive Matt Zames have been approached to replace him. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

Deutsche Bank AG and its backers are casting a wide net to find a potential replacement for chief executive John Cryan – so far with little success.

A top investor in the lender and recruiters in recent weeks have separately reached out to Bank of America Corp’s Christian Meissner and ex-JPMorgan Chase and Co executive Matt Zames, according to people familiar with the matter.

Neither have signalled interest in the role, the people said. Discussions with other candidates held by chairman Paul Achleitner earlier this year also didn’t lead to an offer for the post, people familiar have said.

News of the informal CEO search laid bare tensions between Mr Cryan, who’s repeatedly said that he’s committed to the role, and Mr Achleitner, who hasn’t backed the Briton publicly since, fuelling concerns about a leadership vacuum at Europe’s largest investment bank.

Mr Cryan has been unable to restore revenue growth at the bank after reducing risk, settling legacy misconduct cases and raising fresh capital. Mr Achleitner, too, has come under fire from investors for having failed to forge a recovery after going through three CEOs in six years.

“They’re playing with fire by having a public fight between CEO and chairman,” said Davide Serra, CEO of Algebris Investments. “It’s just the wrong way to manage an institution.”

Chaos at the top

The chaos at the top is weighing on the lender’s stock, with Deutsche Bank trading 2.3 per cent lower on Friday afternoon in Frankfurt trading. The bank has lost 28 per cent of its market value this year.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Mr Meissner and Mr Zames are both viewed favourably by at least one major shareholder, people familiar with the situation say. Before joining Bank of America in 2010, Mr Meissner, 49, ran Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s German investment-banking business. Like Mr Achleitner, he’s originally from Austria and once worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, where he rose through the ranks of Goldman’s equity capital markets business during a 10-year tenure.

Mr Zames, 47, is a former hedge-fund trader who helped tidy up JPMorgan’s London Whale trading debacle. He had been seen as a possible successor to CEO Jamie Dimon after he was promoted to co-chief operating officer in 2012. He left JPMorgan as COO last year with the aim of running another company.

The two are among several individuals outside Europe who have been approached for the German bank’s top job, but the challenges facing the lender are limiting the pool of candidates, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

– Bloomberg