FRANKFURT (Reuters) - In its urgent search for a new CEO on Sunday, the Deutsche Bank board whittled its short list down to just two candidates before selecting John Cryan after less than 90 minutes of discussion, without even checking whether the other candidate was available.
After co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen told him they planned to resign, chairman Paul Achleitner summoned the supervisory board for an emergency meeting.
Non-executive directors, many based in London and New York, were given 48 hours to fly in. A meeting room was booked at the Jumeirah Frankfurt luxury hotel to avoid attracting attention by convening at Deutsche Bank’s headquarters which loom over the city.
The supervisory board convened at 1:00 pm on Sunday without any official agenda. But some members had already guessed the purpose of the meeting.
Jain had already offered his resignation two weeks earlier to a private gathering of senior staff and board members, after some 40 percent of shareholders withheld support at an annual meeting, said one person who was present.
“‘I don’t want to stand in the way of the development of the bank and if necessary I will step aside,'” the person quoted Jain as telling them. “He was really upset, I mean, really upset.”
Cryan, the former finance chief at Swiss bank UBS UBSG.VX, was one of the Deutsche Bank non-executive directors present at Sunday’s meeting which picked him as the new CEO.
He arrived at the hotel appearing very tense, one person close to the meeting said. He told his counterparts on the supervisory board that the bank would soon sail into calmer waters.
The supervisory board considered nine candidates in a first round, but only two made it to the second round of considerations: Cryan and the chief executive of another bank.
In less than 90 minutes, the board had decided on Cryan.
“The CEO of Deutsche Bank must fit the product and client mix of the bank, and if you don’t understand investment banking then you’re at the wrong place,” said one person close to the supervisory board discussions, who did not identify the other short-listed candidate.
Additional reporting by Andreas Kroener, Thomas Atkins, Edward Taylor; Editing by Peter Graff