Next year is Deutsche Bank’s 150th birthday. What might have been a celebration is shaping up to be more of a wake.
With its finances and strategy in disarray and 95 percent of its market value erased, the German bank’s executives are putting the finishing touches on a painful restructuring plan that they hope will halt the company’s yearslong downward spiral.
The plan, which could be announced next week, calls for the potential elimination of up to 20,000 jobs worldwide and largely shutting entire divisions of the company’s ailing Wall Street operations, according to people briefed on the matter. Deutsche Bank also is likely to announce the closing of large portions of its struggling German retail-banking business.
The public unveiling of turnaround plans has become an almost-annual rite for Deutsche Bank. Since 2012, the bank has cycled through five chief executives, with each taking at least one stab — and often more than one — at fixing its financial and cultural problems. Far-reaching strategic shifts, job cuts and geographic retreats have been announced, only to prove underwhelming or be quietly shelved.
This time, executives hope that the restructuring will be sufficiently radical to overcome the worries among investors, customers and employees that Deutsche Bank lacks a viable plan to overcome its weak finances and bruised reputation. Those concerns — as well as a swirl of government investigations and intense scrutiny of the bank’s longstanding relationship with President Trump and his family — pushed Deutsche Bank’s shares to their lowest level ever this month.
The moves envisioned by top executives would partly undo a series of acquisitions made over two decades, when a succession of growth-hungry leaders transformed Deutsche Bank from a provincial financier of German companies and infrastructure projects into a risk-loving global colossus. And the cuts would bring down the curtain on Deutsche Bank’s ill-fated foray onto Wall Street.