As Wall Street continues to measure the hole that Deutsche Bank will be buried in, the German lender's increasingly panicky fall guy CEO appears to be quite eager to find a lifeline. And in his latest act of unquiet desperation, Christian Sewing is turning to a private equity firm that is essentially being run by a man who might conceivably be able to teach Sewing what it looks like to successfully run a successful megabank in America...
Deutsche Bank has hired one of its top shareholders, New York private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, as a paid adviser to help the troubled lender tackle runaway costs and boost lagging profits.
The appointment of Cerberus comes as Chief Executive Christian Sewing tries to revive the German bank’s fortunes after three consecutive full-year losses, market-share declines and strategic upheaval. Cerberus President Matt Zames, the former chief operating officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is leading the advisory team working with Deutsche Bank, a Cerberus spokesman said.
That's right, Sewing is going to pay Cerebrus just to he can play "What would Jamie do?" with Matt Zames. And putting aside the objective unctuousness of doing anything with Steve Feinberg, this plan makes basic sense.
If we know anything for certain about Deutsche Bank, it's that the bank has been managed only slightly better that Germany's World Cup squad. Sewing is the third consecutive man to sit in the corner office at DB and be forced to devour a steady diet of massive scheiße sandwiches. In addition to the fines and the scandals and the terrible performance, Deutsche is also dealing with changing global realities and toxified internal culture.
So who better to talk to than the man who was once the latest person pretending to be Jamie Dimon's heir apparent? Zames was as keyed in to what goes on at JPM as much as a person can safely be before getting whacked by The Khaleesi himself. Being that close to Dimon has to have rubbed off on Zames (Feinberg seems to be paying for it) so it makes total sense to us that Sewing would be leveraging Cerebrus' inherent venal interest in DB to get access to a guy who can look at the smoldering forest of nightmares that John Cryan left behind and say "If Jamie was here..."
And it's not like Cryan didn't try this himself...
Deutsche Bank courted Mr. Zames unsuccessfully as a candidate for the supervisory board before he joined Cerberus, according to people familiar with discussions at the time. At JPMorgan, Mr. Zames oversaw technology, cybersecurity, compliance, real estate and other areas.
Best of luck, Zames. We told you to apply for that Uber gig.