When we picture the offices of most bold name leaders in finance, we see shiny, minimalist spaces with modern furniture and expensive art that unsubtly proclaim a sense of power, confidence and an entitlement to success.
When we picture John Cryan's office, we see a surprisingly small room made dark by perpetually-drawn curtains. It is sparse to the point of self-abnegating asceticism with only a modest desk and two metal chairs. In lieu of art or other meaningful accoutrements, we imagine that there is only a small frame on Cryan's desk, a quote that tells his visitors all they need to know about the man at the helm of Deutsche Bank. It reads:
“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.” - William Faulkner
That quote feels like John Cryan to us. It encapsulates the existential dilemma between perpetual agony and beaten nothingness that is being John Cryan. There is no winning.
Deutsche Bank Chief Executive John Cryan has no plans to step down from running Germany's biggest lender, he told German weekly Die Zeit in an interview.
Cryan made the comments when asked whether the appointment of Christian Sewing and Markus Schenck as co-deputy CEOs earlier this year was meant to lay the groundwork for succession plans.
"You can be sure: I have no plans to go elsewhere, not for a long time," Cryan, who has been in the top job since 2015, told the paper.
And like any man living inside a Kafkaesque Catch-22, Cryan is not expecting things to turn fun anytime soon.
Cryan, who is British, also called for a quick end to a pay dispute between the supervisory board and former top executives.
At issue is a move by the supervisory board to ensure former board members contribute to the costs of the bank's past misconduct. Chairman Paul Achleitner told shareholders in May that an agreement would come soon, but discussions have dragged on.
"The earlier the topic is clarified, the better," Cryan told Die Zeit.
Oh, and there's also that small matter of that one Deutsche client who owes the bank a scheiße-ton of money...who also might have his debt sold to Russians via illegal mirror trades made by Deutsche...and who also just got a new job that has people wondering if his bank records should be made public...what's his name again?
"Donald Trump himself revealed that he is among our customers, but we can't say anything because of bank confidentiality laws," Cryan said.
"What gets lost in the debate is that at the time that Donald Trump received loans, he was a real-estate entrepreneur and not president," he added.
Draw the curtains tighter, tie yourself to your Frankfurter desk and stay forever, John Cryan. What would we do without you?