Crisis-hit Deutsche Bank to push out British CEO

CEO of Deutsche Bank John Cryan speaks during the annual press conference in Frankfurt, Germany. (AP)
Updated 08 April 2018
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Crisis-hit Deutsche Bank to push out British CEO

BERLIN: Trouble-plagued Deutsche Bank is to oust its British CEO John Cryan and replace him with one of his deputies Sunday, media reported, in a bid to get Germany’s biggest lender back on track after years in crisis.
Following weeks of speculation, the move is to come late Sunday during a supervisory board meeting at the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters.
News weekly Der Spiegel and business newspaper Handelsblatt said the bank would tap Christian Sewing, 47, currently a deputy CEO and head of private banking, to take over in May from Cryan, who has been at the helm since 2015.
Deutsche Bank, which declined to comment on the Spiegel report, called the surprise meeting “to discuss the chairmanship and to take a decision the same day,” it said in a statement Saturday.
While Cryan’s contract runs until 2020, press reports in recent days have suggested a rift over strategy with supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner, who called Sunday’s meeting.
The choice of Sewing over investment banking chief Marcus Schenck, who had been discussed as a possible successor to Cryan, points to a strategic shift toward retail banking in its home market Germany.
Sewing “is popular among staff in Germany but is likely to meet with skepticism among foreign investment bankers,” Handelsblatt said, adding that Schenck was now expected to leave the bank in the coming months.
Given sole command of the lender in 2016 after the departure of co-CEO Juergen Fitschen, Cryan’s task was to restructure Deutsche and clean up the toxic legacy of its pre-financial crisis bid to compete with global investment banking giants.
He has neutralized the worst legal threats, in part by paying billions in fines and compensation, strengthened Deutsche’s capital foundations with an 8-billion-euro ($9.8 billion) share issue last year and floated asset management division DWS on the stock market in March.
But “the financial results have so far not been what all of us would want them to be,” Cryan, 57, acknowledged in a letter to employees last month while fighting to keep his job, referring to an unexpected 751-million-euro loss reported for 2017.
While the bank said the loss was a one-off caused by US President Donald Trump’s corporate tax reform, investors have shunned Deutsche since the start of the year, with its stock dropping around 30 percent in value since January 1.
Handelsblatt said last month that Deutsche Bank remains “what it was when Cryan took the helm: a chronic patient.”
Cryan was seen as a troubleshooter after his successful steering of Swiss bank UBS through the financial crisis as finance director between 2008 and 2011.
But he met his match with the German lender.
“It was clear from the beginning that Cryan’s time in office would be limited and that his job would be ‘clearing up past mistakes’. He’s not a charismatic leader personality or a visionary,” professor Sascha Steffen of the Frankfurt school of finance told Handelsblatt.
“He had to battle serious problems that his predecessors swept under the rug for years,” Markus Riesselmann, analyst at Independent Research, told AFP.
“He’s largely cleared those up and now it looks like Deutsche can’t turn things around regarding margins. But I doubt a new CEO could successfully make that transition. It seems rather to be a fundamental ‘Deutsche Bank problem’.”


Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

Singapore has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2019
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Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

  • Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture

SINGAPORE: A plunge in exports and the worst growth rates for a decade have fueled concerns about the outlook for Singapore’s economy, with analysts saying the figures offer a warning that Asia is heading for a slowdown as China-US tensions bite.
While it may be one of the smallest countries in the world, the export hub is highly sensitive to external shocks and has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services.
The affluent city-state is highly dependent on trade and has traditionally been one of the first places in Asia to be hit during global downturns — with ripples typically spreading out across the region. The latest signs are not good. In June, exports collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.
That followed a shock 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction in GDP in the second quarter. Year-on-year growth came in at just 0.1 percent, the slowest pace since 2009 during the global financial crisis.
“Singapore is the canary in the coal mine,” Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Private Banking, told AFP. “And what it tells us is that it is a tough environment.”
To warn of danger, miners used to bring caged canaries underground with them as the birds would die in the presence of even a small amount of poisonous gas — signaling to workers that they should make a swift exit.

BACKGROUND

In June, exports in Singapore collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.

While steadily weakening growth in China is partly to blame for a slowdown in exports, analysts say the trade war between the US and China has dramatically worsened the situation.
While Singapore — a transit point for products heading to and from Western markets as well as the Asian base for manufacturers of some hi-tech goods — may be showing the strain most, negative data has emerged throughout the region.
Exports have been slipping across Asia. In India they plummeted 9.7 percent in June, in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, they dropped 8.9 percent in the same month while in South Korea they slipped 10.7 percent in May.
Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture.
Central banks are moving to spur domestic consumption, with Indonesia and South Korea cutting interest rates Thursday, the latest in Asia to lower borrowing costs.
Singapore’s central bank is seen as likely to ease monetary policy at an October meeting, and some economists are predicting the country could fall into recession next year.
“There are no winners in this trade war. While most of the attention has focused on the trade conflict between China and the US, the damage has not been confined to these two economies,” business consultancy IHS Markit said in a commentary.