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Deutsche Bank Uses ‘First Call’ Principle for Crises, CEOs Say

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Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG co-Chief Executive Officers Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen said they share duties using a “first call” system for matters that need to be escalated within the bank, while both providing pressing counsel to clients and politicians.

The first call principle means “our colleagues have one person they call if they have any doubts, and that person is responsible to carry the information on,” Fitschen said today on a panel with Jain in Berlin. “Some issues we both have to deal with, such as with investors or politicians, those are decisive issues where we are both called upon.”

Jain and Fitschen revived a system of dual CEOs that Deutsche Bank has used three times in the past when they succeeded Josef Ackermann, 64, at the end of May. Pairing the two is an attempt to bridge the company’s roles as a Frankfurt-based lender to German companies and an investment bank that vies with Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“We have a few guiding principles and the most important is joint responsibility,” said Fitschen, also 64. “No one has an exclusive area for which he doesn’t share responsibility.”

Jain, 49, said that skepticism in Germany of an investment banker leading the country’s biggest bank when he was discussed as a successor to Ackermann was “understandable” given the context of the preceding financial crisis.

India-born Jain said that while he “knows how important it is to learn German,” his travel schedule has prevented him from making significant progress. Jain and Fitschen spoke in English. Their comments were translated into German and relayed on broadcaster NTV’s website.

“Berlin is really the heart, the political heart, some might say of all Europe, but certainly of Germany,” said Jain. “I’ve had a good relationship with the people here in Berlin for many years, it isn’t as if I just turned up overnight.”

Separately, Fitschen said, if elected, he is ready to assume the role of president of the BdB Association of German banks, a lobby group to which Deutsche Bank belongs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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