It's just about a one year anniversary for both of the most body-shamed debutantes at the global finance cotillion: John Cryan and Tidjane Thiam.
The respective heads of Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are shopping for new calendars to hang in their offices, but there are a few people that are wishing they were saving that wall space for, like, vision boards to fix their tire fire banks.
John Cryan and Tidjane Thiam received failing grades a year into their jobs in an informal survey of investors and analysts that reflected doubts about their ability to turn around two of Europe’s biggest banks.
But at least, as it turns out, they're failing in somewhat different ways.
Cryan, the chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG, was viewed more favorably than Thiam, his counterpart at Credit Suisse Group AG, winning higher marks on communication and execution, according to the June survey of 11 investors and seven analysts who follow both companies. Yet Thiam, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, had a better score on strategic thinking.
So Cryan is bereft of ideas but he's good at letting people know that while solidly putting his bad ideas into action, but Thiam is bursting with awesome notions but incapable of doing anything about it. These two are like the unjoined human centipede of SIFI management.
But who's the front end?
The doubts are reflected in the banks’ shares, which lost more than half their value in the past 12 months, compared with the 43 percent drop in Bloomberg’s European banks index. Deutsche Bank trades at about a third of its tangible book value, meaning investors view its assets as worth less than its accounts indicate. Credit Suisse trades at about half of tangible book.
Half of tangible book? Relative congrats to Mr. Thiam.
Is there any good news for John and Tidjane?
Deutsche Bank staff say the company has made progress in the last year in communicating transparently, providing greater accountability and simplifying processes and systems, according to results of a survey the company published on Friday. Still, fewer employees feel committed to the lender than they were a year earlier, with less than half saying they are proud to work at the firm, according to the findings.
Thiam, 53, won plaudits early on for pledging to focus on Credit Suisse’s wealth management business while shrinking the investment bank. Yet the risks at the securities business surfaced when it lost about $1 billion on illiquid debt holdings. Thiam drew criticism for his communication on the day the losses were announced.
Is there someone out there who can offer the kind of compliment that befits underperforming chief executives of Alemmanic banks?
“There’s some light, but a lot more shadow,” said Boris Boehm, who helps manage 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) at Aramea Asset Management in Hamburg. “I’m not optimistic on their goals.”at they don’t understand their clients.”
Nice one, Boris.