Deutsche Bank finally put John Cryan out of his misery

Less than three years after taking over Deutsche Bank, John Cryan is leaving the German lender. The company’s stock has fallen more than 50% during his time as CEO, buffeted by billion-euro legal penalties that pre-dated his tenure, declining revenues, and stubbornly high costs.

Date Event Market cap (€ billion)
4/8/18 Christian Sewing appointed CEO 24.4
3/28/18 Cryan says in memo to employees: “I am absolutely committed to serving our bank 23.1
2/2/18 Misses cost goals, revenue declines 28.6
10/26/17 Corporate and institutional division seen as weaker than peers, following earnings report 29.8
1/17/17 Agrees to pay $7.2 billion to settle US mortgage probe 24.1
9/15/16 US authorities ask bank to pay $14 billion to resolve mortgage securities probe 17.9
6/30/16 IMF says Deutsche Bank poses the greatest risk to the global financial system 16.8
5/1/16 Cryan becomes sole CEO 21.9
6/7/15 Cryan appointed co-CEO 39.6

Investors appear optimistic about his successor, Christian Sewing, essentially a Deutsche Bank lifer who started as an apprentice and most recently ran the bank’s private and commercial banking arm. The bank’s market capitalization has jumped by some €1 billion ($1.2 billion) in trading today, the first session after the succession news was announced.

Cryan, meanwhile, will be remembered in Deutsche Bank history as an unusually forthright executive. Early in his tenure, he questioned the sacrosanct notion that the banking industry’s generous bonuses motivate people to work harder: “I’ve never been able to understand the way additional excess riches drive people to behave differently,” he said. Last year, in announcing impending job cuts, he noted that “we have people behaving like robots doing mechanical things, tomorrow we’re going to have robots behaving like people.”

Cryan’s relatively short time at the top of Deutsche Bank may not be fondly remembered by shareholders, but the straight-talking Brit will be missed by journalists, at least.

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