Bye-bye John Cryan?
Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) shares rose the most in three weeks Tuesday following a report in London's Times newspaper that suggested Germany's biggest lender is sounding out candidates to replace embattled CEO John Cryan.
The Times said Richard Gnodde, who heads Goldman Sachs's GS international operations, was approached by the bank, as were Standard Chartered plc CEO Bill Winters and UniCredit SpA boss Jean-Pierre Mustier. Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the story, which quoted a source as saying the relationship between Cryan and the bank's chairman, Paul Achleitner, is "broken", when contacted Tuesday by TheStreet.
"Cryan may be a good person, but he's not the right guy on top of Deutsche Bank," said Stefan Mueller, who heads the German Institute for Asset and Equity Allocation and Valuation, in an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday. ""I think the main problem at Deutsche Bank is Paul Achleitner, he implemented all these CEOs in the last years."
Deutsche Bank shares were marked 2.33% higher in Frankfurt Tuesday, the biggest gain since March 7 and a move that trims its year-to-date decline to 26.1%
The stock has been under pressure for more than two years, however, as profit and revenues at its investment banking unit continue to disappoint and shareholders question Cryan's turnaround efforts following a $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2016 and a $9 billion capital injection in March of last year.
Tensions were further heightened by the bank's decision earlier this month to pay more than $3 billion in employee bonuses for the 2017 fiscal year, despite a 23% fall in the lender's stock price and the lender's third consecutive net loss.
The 2017 bonus payout of €2.3 billion ($2.83 billion) tops the €546 billion payout from the previous year and comes after a $9 billion capital injection last March and consistent speculation that Cryan's tenure at the helm of Germany's biggest bank could be under threat from unhappy investors who have been waiting for his turnaround plans to bear fruit.
"I recognize that this decision was highly contentious for many given the reported net loss in 2017," Cryan said in a letter to shareholders. "If we want to live up to our claim of being the leading European bank with a global network, we have to invest in our employees so that we can continue to provide the best solutions for our clients. In the interests of the bank we could not repeat our previous decision not to pay any individual variable compensation to most of our senior staff for 2016."
Its problems have been compounded by both a reported leadership spat between Cryan and chairman Achleitner and a three-year run of annual losses that have shaken investor faith in one of Europe's biggest banks. Last month, Hainan Jiaoguan Holding Co., better known as HNA, cut its stake to 8.8% from a previous holding of 9.9% and fell below the Qatari royal family as Deutsche Bank's biggest investor.