Why Deutsche Bank's Anshu Jain had to go

Undoubtedly, the operating environment wasn't easy for the co-CEO to have a smooth sailing.

 |  2-minute read |   09-06-2015
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Anshu Jain's, 52, exit from German-headquartered Deutsche Bank as co-CEO was as dramatic as his entry into the global bank as one of the most powerful bankers in the Euro Zone's largest economy.

He was making friends in Berlin and sharpening his German language skills, but had to bow to shareholders' wishes as they were not satisfied with the bank's performance. He will exit by the end of June this year.

Jain was probably the second Indian-born banker, after Vikram Pandit of Citibank, who went on to head a global bank.

It was a completely different scenario just three years ago, when Jain was elevated as co-head along with Jurgen Fitschen. Jain's claim to fame in the international banking was mega profits in the investment banking unit of Deutsche based out of UK. Jain, who worked mostly in US and UK, was brought in the German capital as a post-2008 crisis manager to steer the ship in the most difficult times for the economy.

Now, multinational banks have been facing rough weather again as the global economy is yet to recover from the shocks of financial meltdown. Earlier this year, Peter Sand, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, was booted out. Sand's exit was followed by Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougab.

So what brought down the house for the cricket- and gold-loving Jain? Undoubtedly, the operating environment wasn't easy for Jain to have a smooth sailing. That was also true for all the other banks. What actually triggered Jain's exit was the bank's run-in with regulators. In the last three years under Jain, the bank hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons. It had to pay billions of dollars to settle allegations over LIBOR and foreign exchange manipulations. The bank has also admitted that it was looking into the allegations in its Russian unit for alleged money laundering. The bank was also facing charges of tax evasion. These manipulation charges severely dented its image.

In terms of performance, the bank also failed to meet its revenues and profit target. That pushed the share price down and hence the valuation of the bank in the market.

Jain-Fitschen duo did try to salvage the situation by announcing a strategic plan, which included selling the retail subsidiary Postbank, tweaking the investment banking operations and also initiating a cost cutting exercise to trim down the operations. But somehow shareholders were not convinced.

At the end, the axe fell on the leadership and both the co-heads have opted for an honourable exit. In his resignation letter, Jain termed his two-decade-long career at Deutsche as extraordinary times. "In our time as bank's leaders (referring to co-head), we have boosted capital, reduced exposures and risk and invested significantly in technology, control and compliance capabilities. Most significantly, we kept our clients happy," signed off Jain.

Writer

Anand Adhikari Anand Adhikari @anandadhikari

Anand Adhikari is a journalist at India Today.

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