Michael Spiegel takes over as Marilyn Spearing takes indefinite leave from Deutsche
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Michael Spiegel takes over as Marilyn Spearing takes indefinite leave from Deutsche

After 20 years in transaction banking and five years at the helm of Deutsche Bank’s trade finance and cash management for corporates, Marilyn Spearing is leaving the post for an indefinite sabbatical.

Although she will continue to work on occasional projects for the bank, she will not return to transaction banking. “It's time for me to take on something new,” says Spearing. “There are plenty of exciting things going on outside transaction banking, amazing though that may sound.” Michael Spiegel, Spearing’s deputy, will take over her role.

Michael Spiegel

News of Spearing’s departure set off a feeding frenzy among headhunters and rumours abounded that she was set to move to one of Deutsche’s rivals. “I just decided I wanted to see more of my living room and less of the BA lounge at Heathrow,” she says, dismissing any suggestion that she could move to another bank. Headhunters also swooped on many of Spearing’s key staff, trying to tempt them by playing on the uncertainty her departure might create. “We're pleased to say that no one left despite generous offers,” says Spearing.

Spiegel jokes that he will “have a big job to fill Marilyn’s stilettos”. He adds: “She's achieved a huge amount and been an inspirational leader in the industry.” Spiegel, previously deputy global head for trade finance and cash management for corporates in global transaction banking, is a 26-year veteran of Deutsche, starting his working life as a trainee in the credit department.

Spiegel’s subsequent roles have included building Deutsche Bank’s presence in Vietnam, a stint in Hong Kong during the Asian crisis, and heading trade finance and cash management for corporates in the Americas, based in New York. He has spent the past four years as head of cash and trade for EMEA and most recently as Spearing’s deputy based in London, where he will remain. Like Spearing, Spiegel will report to Werner Steinmueller, head of global transaction banking in Frankfurt. “In my new global responsibility, I'll be dividing my time between London and Frankfurt with frequent visits to the Americas and Asia,” he says. “Being in London is hugely important because of the close interaction between transaction banking and markets, which is based in London.”

While Deutsche’s position in transaction banking is undoubtedly strong, Spiegel will take over the trade finance and cash management post at an important time for the industry. “Technologically, the industry is trying catch up with what is happening in the consumer world in relation to mobile technology, for example,” he says. “More generally, at Deutsche we've undergone a complete change in how we think about technology. For example, we now have people – including someone formerly at Google – focused on the user experience. That might sound an obvious thing to do but until a few years ago the transaction banking industry didn't think that way. The approach was that we knew what users needed and we determined how they accessed functionality. Now it’s the complete opposite.”

Meanwhile, in trade finance, banks face an unprecedented challenge from Basle III proposals that would make many trade finance products less viable by increasing the level of capital banks would have to hold against trade assets. “We will continue the work by Marilyn and others to lobby regulators and politicians and ensure that trade can continue to play a central role in the growth of the global economy,” says Spiegel.

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