January 24, 2019

Sewing at Davos: “We need to bring pride back to Deutsche Bank”

Deutsche Bank has a solid foundation to meet its targets and grow – and through the passion of its employees is on the path to restoring its pride and reputation, Christian Sewing said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23.

In an interview with Uwe Jean Heuser, Business Editor of German weekly DIE ZEIT, the CEO praised “the more than 90,000 people working every day to restructure the bank,” adding that feedback from regulators and analysts has been positive because the bank has tackled costs and strengthened its balance sheet and controls.

Asked about his mission as CEO, Sewing said: “I’ve been, with one small interruption, at Deutsche Bank for 30 years and I just want to make this bank a bank which lives up to its standards and has the reputation it used to have…I want to get my job right, I want to have the right values and I want to have the passion in this bank like before; we need to bring pride back to Deutsche Bank.”

Passion for clients is key to restoring trust and reputation Sewing said, noting that some bankers “still think clients come to us; no, we need to go to the client with the solution.”

Heuser asked if in the German home market, those clients’ doors are already open because “corporate Germany wants you to succeed.” Sewing replied that he was “deeply thankful” for this support, adding that it would be a “terrible mistake” if the largest economy in Europe would be left to rely solely on foreign banks.

Most German CEOs recognised the importance of having a robust, healthy and an international Deutsche Bank and therefore “wish us success,” Sewing said, adding that it was impossible to be successful globally without dominance at home.

Commenting on speculation that Deutsche Bank may consider a merger the CEO was clear: “I have a real task ahead of me and that is to bring back profitability to Deutsche Bank. That’s my main task anything else is beyond what I’m currently thinking of.”

Looking ahead, Sewing highlighted digitisation and the platform economy as driving forces of future success for Deutsche Bank. “The digital world is hugely important because if we are not on the forefront on this one then in the long term we will lose relevance with our clients.”

Asked about Bill Gates’ prediction that in future we will need “banking not banks”, Sewing disagreed, highlighting the knowledge and experience needed to navigate the complex regulatory environment in financial services as one reason banks will remain relevant. “I cannot imagine banking without bank,” the CEO said.