SENIOR Deutsche Bank executives and members of the supervisory board – which will select the next chief executive -- have signaled it is not a foregone conclusion that Anshu Jain will get the job.
“The captain of the ship needs to give a direction and detect icebergs, but he doesn’t have to row the boat,” a member of the supervisory board said.
The bank’s chief risk officer Hugo Baenziger has emerged as a strong candidate.
Not picking an investment banker would run counter to a trend at other European banks involved in investment banking.
Barclays recently handed investment banking chief Bob Diamond the top job after initially passing him over in favour of John Varley.
And Credit Suisse promoted US investment banking chief Brady Dougan, rather than Swiss wealth management chief Walter Berchtold, to run the Swiss bank.
Before joining Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann himself walked out of SKA, a predecessor of Credit Suisse where he was a board member, after being passed over for the top job.
Ackermann later became investment banking head at Deutsche before becoming chief executive in 2002.
But senior bankers say one of Ackermann’s most important achievements was to be “neutral,” a quality needed to unite competing factions within the bank.
That may count against Jain’s candidacy given his investment banking background.
Unlike Jain, Baenziger speaks fluent German, a fact that will go down well in Berlin and in German banking circles.