Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Christian Sewing was there to give the annual pep talk to his top executives.
It was a day for optimism amid the exotic trees and plants in Frankfurt’s botanical garden. Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Christian Sewing was there to give the annual pep talk to his top executives. The good cheer didn’t last long. The morning after, on Thursday, many were confronted by a line of police cars outside their headquarters. There and at five other locations, 170 officers were looking for signs of possible money laundering, with the raids continuing the next day.
And so it goes for what was once one of the world’s dominant financial institutions. Sewing, the bank’s fourth CEO since 2015, is trapped in the same feedback loop of negative news, rising funding costs and declining revenue that foiled his predecessor, John Cryan.
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Even after months of relentless travel and endless meetings with staff and clients, the 48-year-old Deutsche Bank lifer has been unable to break out of what chief financial officer James von Moltke called a ‘vicious circle’. “Just when you thought Deutsche Bank had left its legal troubles behind it, there’s more,” said Markus Riesselmann, an analyst with Independent Research who has a sell recommendation on the stock. “Investors really want to be able to focus on the bank’s operating business, so this noise around them is quite unhelpful for the mood.”
Germany’s largest lender has long struggled to work through legal issues relating to past misdeeds and Cryan called settling litigation risks an important achievement.