Trench Warfare in Frankfurt Conflict Erupts as Deutsche Bank Charts Its Future


By and

Part 4: What the Germans Fear

But does this mean that Germany's largest bank will soon be turned into a gambling operation again? "There will be no return to the wild days of investment banking," say sources close to the new leadership. The private client business is to be expanded further, and even the investment bankers in London recognize that the purchase of Postbank is worth its weight in gold, because the deposits provide security.

But first there will be job cuts at the retail bank. Several hundred jobs are expected to be eliminated in the course of integration. The payment transactions division is expected to lose 350 jobs by 2016, while another 200 jobs will be cut in credit processing and account management units. There are fears that more jobs will be outsourced abroad in the coming years.

The political world also remains skeptical. Some in Berlin are worried that Deutsche Bank, under an Indian-born CEO, could lose its roots in the home market. "To what extent is the last German global player among banks still willing to be a partner to policymakers?" asks one CDU politician.

A Rare Moment of Uncertainty

Such concerns help explain why an Austrian will assume the role of middleman between the bank and the political world in the future: Paul Achleitner, 55. Starting at the end of May, Achleitner will keep watch over Deutsche Bank as its new supervisory board chairman. He was once the head of German operations for Goldman Sachs, and he has served as Head of Group Finance at insurance giant Allianz since 2000. Sources close to Achleitner stress that, for legal reasons, he is not getting involved in the events in Frankfurt yet.

But insiders guarantee that he was of course filled in on Jain's war games, although he was disconcerted over the spectacle of the last few weeks.

Many in Berlin hope that Achleitner will become heavily involved in the future, especially in three years, when Fitschen retires and Jain's absolute rule could very well begin. In corporate Germany, with its inscrutable networks among politicians, the economy and labor unions, Jain will remain an outsider for a long time to come.

There has been talk recently that the Indian-born Jain, who still lives in London, is learning German. Of course, no one has actually heard any evidence yet of his supposed new language skills. When Jain was asked whether the rumors about his German lessons are true, he merely smiled sheepishly and nodded -- but said nothing. It was one of the rare moments in which Jain seemed uncertain.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


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