Ex-Morgan Stanley ED arrives at Deutsche Bank at difficult moment

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In October 2017, Deutsche Bank's share price was around €14.2. The German bank had a curmudgeonly ex-FIG banker as its CEO (whom two thirds of you thought it should keep), and a comparatively new head of global M&A.  Seven months on, the new head of M&A has gone. So too has the CEO. And the share price is closer to €11. Philipp Leising, who quit Morgan Stanley for Deutsche in Frankfurt last October and has only just turned up at the German bank, must be wondering what he's let himself in for.

Frankfurt headhunters have professed astonishment at Leising's move. "Morgan Stanley is a far better platform," says one, adding that it's become increasingly easy to find Deutsche M&A staff who are interested in moving to competitors.

Leising's arrival follows last week's news that Thomas Piquemal, who was appointed global head of M&A at Deutsche in March 2017 is leaving to join Fimalac, a French holding company owned by billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière. It also follows news that Deutsche is closing its oil and gas M&A team in both Europe and the U.S..

Leising may not lose sleep over his new job. He'll be covering European industrials out of Frankfurt for DB, an area new CEO Christian Sewing has indicated will be safe under his new strategy. Leising's also gained a promotion from executive director to managing director, and Deutsche is known for paying very generous salaries at the top.

Even so, Deutsche Bank insiders say the heat is on. Piquemal's exit comes after Deutsche Bank ranked outside the top ten for EMEA M&A in the first quarter of 2018 according to Dealogic. Worse, Deutsche ranked outside the top 10 for German M&A in the first quarter, after being beaten by the likes of BNP Paribas, Barclays and Numis in its home country.

Deutsche insiders say Alasdair Warren, the head of Deutsche's corporate and investment bank in Europe urgently needs to produce results. Revenues in Deutsche's M&A business globally fell 22% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley's rose 16%.  "The M&A business costs us a fortune," complains one senior Deutsche banker in London. This might be why Piquemal isn't being replaced. It will also mean MDs like Leising need to work hard to justify their expense.

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