Deutsche Bank has ousted John Cyran from his position as CEO and appointed Christian Sewing as CEO with immediate effect, ending two weeks of speculation about changes to the banks leadership.
As part of the reshuffle, Cyran and president Marcus Schenck will leave the bank immediately while Garth Ritchie and Karl von Rohr have been appointed as presidents.
With Sewing Deutsche has chosen a familiar face, the executive has been with Deutsche since 1989, having worked among others at the group’s Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto offices.
Sewing was head of Group Audit from June 2013 to February 2015, before being appointed as member of the management board. From 2017 on, he also took on the role as president covering Deutsche Bank’s Private & Commercial Bank (including Postbank) alongside his colleague Frank Strauß.
He ticks a number of boxes for Deutsche’s supervisory board, being a German speaker and having been closely involved in negotiating cuts to Deutsche’s retail banking unit.
His appointment ends weeks of speculation about Deutsche’s leadership succession, following a number of challenging months, with Deutsche Bank shares having fallen by more than 28% since the beginning of the year. Shareholders responded initially positive to the news, with Deutsche’s share price stabilising by 0.45% throughout the morning.
Initial responses were positive, Hans- Christoph Hirt, head of Hermes EOS, which advises on behalf of third party shareholders, describes Sewing as a “credible internal candidate.” At the same time, Hirt also draws the attention to the role of Paul Achleitner, chairman of Deutsche’s supervisory board, the key person behind the reshuffle.
“He hand-picked John Cryan in mid-2015, after overseeing the previous co-CEOs for three years. The appointment of Christian Sewing thus means the third CEO change during his six-year tenure. Why was it necessary to appoint a new CEO at this point (Cryan’s appointment was scheduled to end in 2020)?” Hirt questions.
Sewing has his work cut out for him as Deutsche Bank is in the midst of a 5 year restructuring plan launched by Cyran in 2015. As part of the Strategy 2020, Deutsche intends to cut back on its cost base, reducing overall risk levels by withdrawing from certain sectors and locations and reforming its retail banking division.