The Yorkshireman who runs Deutsche Bank could lose his job after alarming its German board with plans for drastic cuts.
John Cryan is known for his direct approach and the tough demands he places on staff.
But the 57-year-old chief executive is facing the sack over his efforts to transform the German bank’s fortunes through deep cutbacks.
Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan is known for his direct approach and the tough demands he places on staff
Cryan has reportedly fallen out with chairman Paul Achleitner, 61, who is opposing his plans for major restructuring and a huge overhaul of its investment banking arm.
Another bone of contention is rumoured to be the lender’s approach to HNA Group, a Chinese firm which is its largest shareholder, that Cryan wants to keep at arm’s length.
Deutsche’s board is even said to have already sounded out candidates to replace him – including Goldman Sachs’s European head Richard Gnodde, who turned down the offer.
Others in the frame are claimed to include Jean Pierre Mustier, head of Italian bank Unicredit, and Bill Winters of Standard Chartered.
The row is likely to reinforce concerns over Germany’s deeply conservative business establishment, which has a reputation for resisting new ideas and preferring parochial insiders to figures with experience of international capitalism.
Cryan became Deutsche’s co-chief executive in June 2015, sharing the role with Jurgen Fitschen until May 2016 when he became sole CEO.
Cryan’s lawyer wife Mary is part of America’s wealthy Du Pont dynasty, but he is known for his austere attitude, and when in London often takes the Tube to work from his home in Holland Park.
How Cryan’s comments annoyed the Germans
- ‘I will not work any harder or any less hard in any year, in any day, because someone is going to pay me more or less’
- ‘We didn’t apply common sense’ in the banking crisis
- ‘Accountants spend a lot of time being an abacus’
- ‘In our banks, we have people behaving like robots’
- ‘We employ 97,000 people. Most big peers have more like half that number’
- ‘The idea of 74,000 jobs being at risk is ridiculous, it’s more like 74’ – on the City’s euro clearing jobs being threatened by Brexit
- ‘Much too high’ – on what he thought of claims that Deutsche could move 4,000 jobs out of London
He announced a bonus freeze at the bank in 2017 but this has since been lifted to try to stop an exodus of staff.
He is axing 9,000 permanent jobs and 6,000 contractors, and is cutting £800million from Deutsche’s retail banking network by closing thousands of branches.
However, none of this has been enough to prevent three successive annual losses amid multi-billion-pound fines for past bad behaviour and speculation about the lender’s stability.
Deutsche’s stock has fallen 11 per cent in the past week after it warned that profits will be hit by the strong euro.
Cryan – born in Harrogate to a jazz musician father, and nicknamed Mr Grumpy for his pessimistic outlook – has often found himself at odds with Frankfurt’s financial elite.
He shocked them last year by branding many of Deutsche’s accounting staff as no better than robots and warning he could sack as much as half of its 97,000 workforce.
The banker has also refused to toe the German line on Brexit, which is seen by many as a golden opportunity to steal business from the City.
But Cryan, who earned £3million last year, has dismissed claims that 4,000 of Deutsche’s staff could be shifted out of the City and rubbished the idea that 74,000 jobs are at risk if London is stripped of its valuable euro-clearing business after Brexit.
The alleged plot to oust Cryan follows the departure of disgraced German stock exchange chief Carsten Kengeter, 50.
He left in disgrace over an insider trading scandal but has always denied wrongdoing. It is rumoured his Anglophile outlook and background in global investment banking irritated German powerbrokers.