Can Deutsche Measure Up?

A laggard among Eurorivals, it's scrambling to revamp

From Rolf E. Breuer's office atop the Frankfurt headquarters of giant Deutsche Bank, you can survey the offices of just about every big lender in Germany, not to mention those of several other rivals. That's a handy perspective: Breuer, Deutsche Bank's CEO since last May, has been widely rumored to be looking to buy some of these very banks. But as Breuer talks about his strategy, you get the sense that he's not in a buying mood just yet. Indeed, he all but rules out a big deal like the $57.8 billion merger Swiss Bank Corp. engineered with Union Bank of Switzerland in December. "Our answer is to get our machine on the street and drive it at full horsepower," he says.

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