Another global bank CEO is given his walking papers. John Cryan’s tenure at Deutsche Bank was unsurprisingly brief. He began it by being realistic. Upon being hired for the top job, Cryan predicted his stay there would, “[depend] on how well we deliver on strategy, impress clients and reduce complexity.” It’s that last one nobody seems able to truly comprehend.
Modern eurodollar money is the very product of complexity. Balance sheet capacity is the Webster’s definition of it. But to make money inside this system you really can’t do so by getting smaller. Yet, the current climate demands only that. It brings about a chicken and egg sort of problem; banks need opportunity derived from a real rather than imagined recovery; to get that recovery requires banks to engage in risky practices of the old byzantine variety.
It’s not really a paradox, though. We would thoroughly celebrate this continued demise of the old ways if someone had thought ahead when that inflection was first awakened ten years ago. Instead, the old system remains chronically unstable and dysfunctional, and the mainstream can’t figure out why banks are reluctant to act as if the world was getting better as “everyone” knows it is (must be regulations!)
Since part of the job is symbolism, it’s perfectly appropriate to look as close as possible at who it is now replacing Cryan. What does this latest switch potentially mean for DB and global eurodollar banking?
Before that, however, we should review why it was Cryan replaced co-CEO’s (of sorts) Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen in 2015. The latter pair had been brought on in 2012 under very different circumstances at DB. By the end at that infamous shareholder meeting in May that year, the two tried to lay blame for their unpopularity on scandal. Board Chairman Paul Achleitner would claim, “The public image of Deutsche Bank is heavily tarnished and damaged.”