business

Zames Sounded Out as Deutsche Bank CEO by Recruiters

Updated on
  • He’s said to be among a handful of candidates outside Europe
  • CEO Cryan is under pressure amid a sustained slide in revenue
Bloomberg’s Peggy Collins and Erik Schatzker report on the possible Zames candidacy for Deutsche Bank CEO.

Matt Zames, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive, is among candidates contacted by recruiters in recent weeks to replace Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, according to people familiar with the discussions.

While the recruiters didn’t have a formal mandate from the bank at the time of the approach, the 47-year-old was sounded out as part of their search, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are confidential. Zames signaled he would prefer to remain in the U.S. and it’s unclear if he’s still in the running, one of the people said.

Matt Zames

Photographer: Kholood Eid/Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Chairman Paul Achleitner has held discussions with potential successors to Cryan amid rising investor frustration, people with knowledge of the discussions said last week. Cryan has been unable to restore revenue growth at the bank after reducing risk, settling legacy misconduct cases and raising fresh capital. Achleitner, too, has come under fire for having failed to forge a recovery after going through three CEOs in six years.

Zames didn’t respond to requests for comment. A Deutsche Bank official declined to comment. Cryan has said previously that he’s committed to the role.

Limited Pool

Zames is a former hedge-fund trader who helped tidy up JPMorgan’s London Whale trading debacle. He was seen as a possible successor to CEO Jamie Dimon after he was promoted to co-chief operating officer in 2012. He left JPMorgan as COO last year with the aim of running another company.

At least one top investor views Zames favorably as a candidate for the Deutsche Bank post, according to a person familiar with the shareholder’s thinking.

Zames is one of several individuals outside Europe who have been approached for the German bank’s top job, but the challenges facing the lender are limiting the pool of candidates, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Achleitner has also contacted possible candidates including Juerg Zeltner, UBS Group AG’s former wealth-management chief, but the talks haven’t progressed to an offer for the post, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg previously. Other options included Standard Chartered Plc CEO Bill Winters and UniCredit SpA chief Jean Pierre Mustier, the people said.

Cryan, 57, took over the top job at Deutsche Bank in 2015, replacing Anshu Jain. Unlike his predecessor, he speaks German thanks to a spell in Munich in his late 20s, a skill that’s still important at the bank in order to connect with lawmakers and a domestic audience.

He is currently in the midst of a fresh review of the investment bank, Europe’s largest, that could result in more cuts to the business. Garth Ritchie, co-head of the unit, is considering leaving as soon as this year, people familiar the matter said Thursday.

The firm is losing market share in some of its most important investment-banking divisions. In international bond underwriting, the bank’s market share slumped in the first quarter to its lowest since the data begin in 1999, and in the space of a year it’s dropped to fourth place from first in managing loans for companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

A dearth of external candidates may mean Deutsche Bank has to turn to internal candidates such as deputy CEOs Marcus Schenck and Christian Sewing, one of the people with knowledge of the talks said.

— With assistance by Hugh Son, and Mark Gilbert

(Adds details on Zames in second paragraph.)
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