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Sewing parrots Cryan

Christian Sewing has been painted as the stern cost disciplinarian and man of action, so he had to unveil something decisive-sounding at his first results call — even if it smacks of tokenism

A blunt-speaking new chief executive steps up and declares that Deutsche Bank has allowed itself to become too inefficient. The cost base is swollen by poor and ineffective processes. The bank is too diversified and too complex for its own good and must simplify its business model. Where the new broom encounters marginal businesses with poor prospects they will be swept away. And there’s more. The bank absolutely must wean itself off the proliferation of committees and instead empower managers to make tough decisions that are then properly documented and implemented.

But let’s not hark back to John Cryan’s first message to employees on July 1, 2015, shall we?

Let’s rather consider the pronouncements of Christian Sewing at Deutsche Bank’s first quarter 2018 results call at the end of April.

It seems that the bank has let itself become too inefficient. The cost base is swollen. Immediate steps must be taken to curtail balance sheet and other resources committed to low return activities. The chief financial officer has started a strategic “Cost Catalyst Programme” supported by the entire management board. But this is not management by committee. Oh no. More decision making will be delegated to the businesses and they will be held more accountable.

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