DB's in-house 'fixer' named deputy CEO

A big piece of the Deutsche Bank’s announcement by CEO John Cryan that it was selling $8.5 billion additional shares in its latest attempt to raise capital was missed by me until yesterday.

The news was that Cryan also appointed a new management team, promoting Finance head Markus Schenck and retail head Christian Sewing became co-deputy chief executives immediately.

Now I had to rack my brain when Sewing’s name came up. Most times we have little knowledge of why certain executives are promoted within organizations, however I have inside knowledge on Herr Sewing.

Sewing was tapped on the day of DB’s risk executive William Broeksmit’s death by then-CEO Ashu Jain to conduct an internal investigation into the executive’s life leading up to that fateful day.

Sewing had two weeks prior been appointed as Head of Legal and the Incident Management Group. Sewing was also in a small group (two dozen) invited by Jain four months prior to attend a retirement party for Broeksmit at the London HQ. Sewing had worked with Broeksmit as deputy risk officer for the bank for a short period of time.

So after a year of probing the death of Broeksmit, the team headed by Sewing and aided by outside law firm Freshfields in London, reported that the committee did not see any connection between Broeksmit’s “suicide” and his work at the bank.

This conclusion was reached despite the report citing many of the problems Deutsche would face from global regulators soon after the report was released that would cost the German bank billions in fines.

The report looked into:

  • Probing at the time the growing LIBOR investigations, which were cited as a concern, but dismissed.
  • Broeksmit’s outside directorship involvement in DBCTA (Deutsche Bank Trust Company of America).
  • DB’s involvement in the Italian bank deal with Monte Paschi.
  • And lastly the investigation team questioned Michelle Faissola, who was at Broeksmit’s house the day of the death.

While all these questions or avenues of investigation were probed in some regard, the findings were that Broeksmit’s role at the bank was not the cause of his death.

And so of the hundreds of capable executives within Deutsche Bank, Herr Sewing is now looking like he may succeed Cryan as CEO of the bank in the next year or so.

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