Deutsche Bank CEO blasts execs over suit fitting on day of layoffs

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – The Chief Executive of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, said he has personally rebuked managers who ordered tailors to fit suits at their London office as thousands of traders were let go on Monday.

“I expect the two colleagues won’t forget my call,” Christian Sewing told German business daily Handelsblatt’s yesterday edition.

“I can’t understand that someone would call tailors to fit suits on Monday. On the same day, we had to tell many colleagues in share trading that they had to leave as we were closing their department.”

Some media had assumed the pictures of men carrying suit bags out of the office on Monday showed departing employees, when in fact they were there for a fitting.

London-based Financial News reported the custom-tailored outfits from Fielding and Nicholson were worth as much as EUR1,670 each.

Under Sewing and previous chief executive John Cryan, Deutsche Bank has been struggling to shake off an image of being focussed only on relentless growth and big bonuses that it acquired in the years before and after the financial crisis.

The Frankfurt-based group has forked out billions of euros in lawsuits and other scandals over its conduct during its breakneck expansion prior to 2008.

Sewing told Handelsblatt the London managers’ “behaviour in no way corresponds with our values”.

This week’s layoffs were part of a massive restructuring that will see much of the bank’s share trading business shuttered or sold off, while it refocusses on its traditional strengths servicing corporate clients. Many analysts have hailed the moves, set to include a total of 18,000 layoffs, as necessary to re-energise the troubled behemoth, but some have asked whether the changes come too late to save Deutsche Bank from decline and a possible takeover.

Shares in the group were trading at 6.71 euros around 9.30am in Frankfurt yesterday, topping the DAX index of blue-chip stocks – but remained down 6.5 per cent since on Monday.

“We are getting a little smaller, but also much more efficient and profitable. The strategy has finally created clarity over our future,” Sewing said.