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Morning Coffee: Deutsche Bank CEO's ethereal presence in meetings. How to get promoted early at Morgan Stanley

An AI rendition of Christian Sewing obscured by steaming coffee

Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing seems more modest than many of his peers. Having started at the bank as a 19-year-old apprentice and journeyed through less storied zones like risk management and corporate banking, he doesn't have the ego of a rainmaking BSD. He's low-key, says the Wall Street Journal. He likes to play board games and to appoint similarly low-key people into key roles. 

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One of those people is Fabrizio Campelli, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant who runs Deutsche's investment bank and who likes to be methodical. When he was charged with restructuring the bank in 2019, the WSJ says Campelli would come to meetings with spreadsheets of 70 initiatives, names of those responsible for their execution and updates of their progress. 

Another is Rebecca Short, a Deutsche Bank lifer whom Sewing appointed as chief operating officer last June, and who's charged with getting costs down across the bank. Short is risking unpopularity by demanding that Deutsche's people return to the office three days a week, or four if they're managing directors (MDs), although this is gentle compared to JPMorgan's five-day MD edict. 

Sewing's slight but watchful presence seems typified by his approach to meetings. The WSJ says he's been known to appear, soundlessly and unexpectedly, and to lean against the wall, listening in. 

In this way, Sewing seems to have tamed Deutsche Bank's big beasts. It helps that he's focused on corporate banking over investment banking and local clients over the global giants. Sewing's Deutsche Bank is about automated tax reports before automated trading systems. His focus is on companies in the mid-sized German Mittelstand. He attends local events; the implication is that you might find Sewing at a school fete in Bavaria. Former German chancellor Angela Merkel was reportedly surprised by Sewing's demure demeanour. 

The share price aside, it seems to work. Deutsche Bank survived the turmoil around the collapse of Credit Suisse and Sewing has fans. “We view him to be one of the most underrated managers of a global financial firm,” one big investor tells the WSJ.  A little humility goes a long way. 

Separately, if you're impatient with your progress at Morgan Stanley, the Financial Times suggests there might be away to expedite your career.

A Frankfurt-based Morgan Stanley banker on a €375k salary plus bonus is understood to be claiming that he was given the title 'head of loan trading' as an executive director. However, he also says that he was told that he wasn't really head of loan trading in fact, and that the title had simply been created to keep regulators happy post-Brexit. 

Morgan Stanley is understood to have disputed the claim in court and is now appealing the verdict. If true, though, it suggests that bigger job titles are on offer in Europe. Morgan Stanley may not be the only bank offering them. 


David Solomon got a 24% pay rise to $31m at Goldman Sachs, even though Goldman reported its lowest profit for four years and overall compensation spending was only up 2%. He was seemingly paid for closing the retail banking business. (Financial Times) 

Sorry times at Barclays. One senior manager says morale in the investment banking division is at its darkest since 2008. (Financial Times)

Mohammed Zina, who worked in Goldman Sachs' Conflicts Resolution Group (and Sainsbury's at weekends), was sentenced to 22 months in jail for insider trading. (Financial Times)  

If you lose your job at Rothschild, you could ask for a transfer to Saudi Arabia, where the bank is growing. (Bloomberg) 

Deloitte is ruthlessly closing parts of its M&A business. “It was always subscale — not big enough to be an investment bank and not small enough to be a boutique." (Financial Times)  

Man Group CEO Robyn Grew was a campaigner. “I was that kid who marched against runways, for the miners. I remember my mum saying ‘I’m not sure joining CND is a good idea’.” (The Times) 

The Dubai International Financial Centre now employs 41,600 people — a 15% increase on last year. (Bloomberg) 

Moelis & Co has bet big on the Middle East and now has the biggest global investment banking operations there. (Bloomberg)  

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • De
    11 March 2024

    Pretty sick of the news flashing out Deutsche Bank has improved its fitch rating etc and profit making but ZERO increase in pay - sighting cost savings etc. Today's news show that DB again hired meta alumni and senior engineers. best strategy ever. they are going to start regretting not investing in raising the existing employees pay as rehiring cost more.

  • st
    1 March 2024

    Funny how Deutsche has 0% raises and given guidance for no increase of pay for staff in US. But other countries in Asia such as Singapore, India and many countries in Europe are going to get mandatory fixed pay increases. Germany by default gets a 2% increase. It's time the US government thinks about its people for an outside bank giving more to its people here when the US is the biggest economic driver. Shouldn't the US employees be getting a bump up in this scenario?

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