Ah, a spring Friday. The promise of the season mixed with the relief of a weekend about to dawn. A truly hopeful confluence of energies that can make a person feel almost too crammed with positive vibes.
So why not hedge our emotions a bit and take a moment to see how things are going over at the financial world's eternal flame toxic garbage fire, Deutsche Bank?
After fledging rumors that shit was about get real dark, this week was dominated by reports that Deutsche is looking to crop a nifty 20% of its US-based workforce and lighten its real estate load by shuttering some offices and moving its NYC HQ from Wall Street to hipper, smaller office space in Midtown. The bank has denied such reports, but according to some reporting by Bloomberg, last week's Milken Conference was already rife with discussion of how to carve up Deutsche's American corpse, and/or how much is still even edible at this point...
In chandeliered conference rooms and marble-floored hallways, Wall Street A-listers chatted, with no shortage of schadenfreude, about the German bank’s recent capitulation: After two decades trying to build one of the world’s top investment banks, it’s settling for something less -- and may eliminate thousands of jobs, especially in the U.S.
The main questions for many of its rivals attending the Milken Institute Global Conference: Can Deutsche Bank protect the U.S. businesses it wants to keep? And if not, who’s worth poaching?
And as we know, Deutsche Bankers have been feelingvery poachablefor a while now, mostly because Deutsche management has taken very little care in treating them with any kind of care. But that all happened under the watch of emotionally broken former CEO John Cryan. Surely things will be handled more deftly under the younger, fresher Teutonic leadership of shiny new CEO Christian Sewing...right?
Employees who remain should feel encouraged by the overhaul, which in many areas will focus on underperformers, said Mark Fedorcik, co-head of the investment bank’s operations in the Americas, in an interview on Thursday. “You’ve got to make decisions to shrink where you’re not efficient.”
Hmm, is Fedorcik tacitly admitting that 1 in 5 US-based Deutsche Bankers are not worth keeping around? Because that would be a weird thing for a senior manager to say about the people he's supposed to be...managing. He must have clarified this later in the piece...
Fedorcik, who oversees corporate finance operations, said most of the cuts in that business will be underperformers and that he will fiercely defend employees doing well. “It sends the right message to the top performers and it sends a message to people internally that you will continue to reward the best people,” he said.
So, yeah, he didn't. But he did manage to make current Deutsche-American bankers feel this way about how things are going at the office. From a current NYC-based DBer:
"Would like to say a big fuck you to Mark Fedorcik who pre-labeled people who are going to be laid off next week as underperformers multiple times in the Bloomberg article today on DB. Thanks douchebag! that’s a great public comment to make about the hundreds of people who will be out looking for jobs soon."
Soooo, Fedorcik has that goin' for him, which is nice.
But the problems inside Deutsche obviously go beyond how people feel about Fedorcik's comments to a reporter. Another tipster inside the bank tells us that Sewing's visit to NYC meant to soothe over tensions just made things more tense and that high profile departures, like Deutsche Bank Securities CEO Barry Bausano, has many of the rank and file working in a environment that feels "Super stressful and super shitty." Basauno was essentially DB's hedge fund tzar and was reportedly telling clients last week to hang tight with Deutsche. The fact that he's gone - and that the hyperactive rumor mill inside the bank is devoid of any scuttlebutt on his possible successor - is not, according to our sources, putting many minds at ease.
But, hey, if Sewing and Fedorcik's pleas are to be believed, Deutsche's US operations will now focus on talent retention and - inevitably - acquisition. We hate to get too speculative about something so serious, but we can't help play matchmaker when the opportunity arises.
If Deutsche is looking to bring in a tested hedge fund relationship executive that might be eager to come in at a bargain, is used to chaotic working situations and is infamous for raising morale everywhere he goes, we know of one guy that might fit the bill perfectly.
But is Deutsche's conservative new management team brave enough to see the brilliance in purchasing Skybridge Capital and submitting itself to deep study and adoption of The M.O.O.C.H. System? For only through The Mooch can true healing begin.