Deutsche Bank has named retail specialist Christian Sewing as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Sewing replaced John Cryan, a Briton, as the bank seeks to strengthen its brand in its home market.
Sewing’s appointment may be seen as a possible retreat from almost three decades of empowering investment bankers at Germany’s largest lender. Deutsche Bank began its investment banking push with the purchase of Morgan Grenfell in 1989.
Cryan had been in charge since 2015 and his mandate would have expired in 2020, but investors had lost faith that he could return the bank to profitability after three consecutive years of losses.
Sewing, 47, had been deputy CEO, with a background in retail banking, auditing and risk. His promotion comes as the bank and its major shareholders debate the path forward for Deutsche’s investment banking unit, where revenues have slowed and key staff defected.
Sewing was the top choice out of the list of candidates presented by Achleitner at a hastily arranged board call on Sunday evening, two people familiar with the matter said. A second external candidate was also proposed, one of the people said. Achleitner began a search last month to replace Cryan following a flurry of negative headlines after the bank reported a third consecutive annual loss.
Cryan will leave at the end of this month, the bank said. Garth Ritchie and Karl von Rohr will serve as deputy CEOs. Marcus Schenck, who was co-deputy CEO and helped oversee the investment bank, is also leaving, Deutsche said.
Sewing, a member of the management board since 2015, had been overseeing Deutsche Bank’s private and commercial bank division, which includes the Postbank retail banking unit. He joined Deutsche Bank in 1989 and has worked in Frankfurt, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto.
Sewing’s appointment was a blow to Schenck, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker long considered a future CEO at Deutsche.