Deutsche Bank hit by a wave of U.S. resignations while tech staff complain of low morale

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Deutsche Bank insiders say the German bank has been hit by a wave of senior resignations in the U.S. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank technology staff are complaining about the tone from the top.

The U.S. exits are understood to include Dan Persad, head of infrastructure change for the Americas, Martin Arzac, an MD in leveraged finance, Katie Jannelli, another managing director, Jon Richman, Deutsche's former head of trade and financial supply chain in the Americas (who's gone to Santander) and Joerg Obermueller, a vice president.

Deutsche is also understood to have lost another investment banker in London: insiders say that Vikram Gandhi, a director in the capital solutions group has resigned. This follows the earlier resignation of Kristian Triggle, a "solid member" of Deutsche's London FIG team. 

The exits come as Deutsche Bank is in the process of extracting 7,000 jobs from across the organisation. Earlier this year, London headhunters said Deutsche was offering buy-backs of as much as 50% to persuade its most special staff to stay, but insiders say the emphasis at the bank is now on cost-cutting by whatever means possible.

Deutsche's front office job cuts theoretically ended in July, but middle office staff in risk and technology are expected to bear the brunt of the next round of layoffs.

This might explain why Deutsche's technology staff are displaying  some signs of unhappiness. When DB reported its second quarter results, it revealed a slight decline in technology spending even as rival banks were increasing their investment in tech (CEO Christian Sewing said the bank is focusing its efforts on regulatory remediation and innovation). The declining spend followed former Deutsche COO Kim Hammonds' suggestion that Deutsche was the most "dysfunctional place" she'd ever worked and accompanied the bank's failure to cut its operating systems from 45 to four as planned (although it is now down to 27 from 32 in the first quarter of this year).

"We're being given endless pep talks by Peter Wharton Hood [chief operating officer of the corporate and investment bank] about how great it is to work here, even though we all seem to be doing two or three people's jobs," complains one Deutsche technologist. "At one all-hands, Wharton Hood appeared alongside Pascal Boillat, but shortly after that we were told that Boillat was leaving for a bank in Australia. It feels like no one is being upfront about potential redundancies or what happens as a result of Brexit."

Deutsche Bank declined to comment for this article, but the bank has had some notable technology successes in the past year, including the stabilization of its critical systems (which are now running a record 99.98% of the time) and the launch of a Symphony chatbot.

The senior exits come amidst some modest hiring at MD level (eg. Tom Spreutels joined in May as head of FIG corporate banking coverage), and a lot of hiring at a junior level. - Business Insider reported in July that Deutsche's analyst intake is 25% higher this year than last.

Some insiders complain that the bank is becoming over-reliant on juniors as a result: "The people who are leaving are strong performers who were not at risk of being fired," says one. "A lot of the decent people at Deutsche Bank are interviewing for at least one job," says another. "It's becoming a real problem."

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