Morning Coffee: When the man who hired you stabs you in the back. Machine learning comes to UBS’s trading floor
When John Cryan was hired as Deutsche Bank CEO back in the summer of 2015 it was the bank’s chairman Paul Achleitner who effectively gave him the job. Now, however, Achleitner is the man who is reportedly leading the charge to oust his former recruit.
It’s Achleitner who has been calling top European bankers to informally discuss whether they might like to take over Cryan’s role (so far, they don’t). Several news outlets are reporting that Achleitner has an ongoing beef with Cryan over his efforts to revive Deutsche’s struggling investment bank – Achleitner wants a more radical approach. “Relations between John Cryan and Paul Achleitner are really not good and they have got worse recently,” a source close to boardroom discussions at Deutsche told the Financial Times.
Achleitner has been a “persistent critic” of Cryan, which has resulted in “months of clashes” between the two men, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal. In October, the WSJ reported that Achleitner had argued with the CEO about strategy, style and their relationship with the bank’s top shareholder, HNA Group. Now insiders are telling the newspaper that their relationship has since worsened.
There are some at Deutsche who believe that Cryan is doing a great job in difficult circumstances, while others say that Achleitner himself is partly to blame for Deutsche’s woes (its share price has fallen 57% since 2015). “Cryan may be a good person, but he’s not the right guy on top of Deutsche Bank,” Stefan Mueller, CEO of the German Institute for Asset and Equity Allocation and Valuation, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “I think the main problem at Deutsche Bank is Paul Achleitner, he implemented all these CEOs in the last years.”
The WSJ also notes that if Achleitner brings down Cryan, he may ultimately lose his own job, given his “central role” in recruiting Cryan and supervising the bank’s top executives. Be careful who you hire.
Separately, UBS is testing a computer program that prices and trades some of the – mainly small-scale – inquiries received by its bond desk, removing the need for traders to do these tasks. Will this put traders out of work? Gary Rapp, head of investment-grade trading at UBS, thinks not. “On large block trades, you still need trust and that’s where a trader with strong relationships can add a lot of value,” he told Bloomberg.
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