With Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing set to unveil his sweeping restructuring plan to the struggling German banking behemoth's board on Sunday - a plan that's expected to focus on brutal cuts to DB's investment bank - the longtime head of that unit, Garth Ritchie, has reportedly quit, according to the FT.
On Friday, DB said that Mr Ritchie would step aside "by mutual consent", ending his more than 20-year run at the bank.
But the bank's mass-firings of both executives and rank-and-file staff are only just beginning.
Though news of Ritchie's departure was telegraphed well in advance (he was widely expected to depart before Sewing unveiled his turnaround plan to the bank's board on Sunday), DB has been rocked by some unexpected news that could revive the sense of fear and panic that sent investors running for the exits back in 2016, when many believed a massive DoJ fine might sink the bank.
Echoing a mini-bank run from late 2016 when hedge funds that cleared derivatives trades with the bank started withdrawing excess cash and positions held with the lender, Renaissance Technologies, the giant hedge fund that has been one of DB's largest prime brokerage clients, has reportedly been taking money out of its prime brokerage accounts with the German lender over the past few months, according to people familiar with the move.
According to Bloomberg, while the secretive quant fund giant remains a major client of Deutsche Bank, it has been quietly moving business to Barclays, Bank of America, and others, according to several sources who weren't identified. Reps for both DB and RenTech declined to comment when approached by BBG reporters.
Hedge funds have been migrating away from DB for years. According to "people with knowledge of the matter", through the end of last year, revenue from executing trades and lending securities to hedge funds was down by more than one-third compared with 2015.
Back in 2016, news of the hedge fund bank run sent DB short-term CDS soaring. Though Friday's news hasn't had much of an impact on the costs to insure Deutsche Bank debt, that could soon change.
With the head of his investment bank gone and pressure from departing clients mounting, CEO Sewing is expected to take direct responsibility for the unit as he helms what's expected to be a costly restructuring that could come with a €5 billion ($5.6 billion) price tag and layoffs of some 20,000 - or 1 in 6 - employees across the bank (Sewing will run the investment bank despite coming from a retail-banking background).
According to efinancialcareers.com, Ritchie, who earned €8.2m last year, a larger payday than his boss, had been tasked with 'refocusing' the corporate and investment bank in 2018. However, he only achieved 80% of his targets for the year. He has been widely rumored to be on his way out for months.
The bank's board is widely expected to rubber-stamp Sewing's plan, which could involve the shuttering or sale of the bank's US equities business, and other unprofitable or struggling business lines. Sewing's job cuts are expected to hit the investment bank particularly hard, with the expected elimination of up to 50% of jobs.
Though some believe the job cuts will take place slowly over the course of the next year, one former MD told efinancialcareers that mass firings could happen as soon as Monday, when "Lehman-like" crowds might form outside the bank's offices in London, New York City and elsewhere.
"You could see Lehman-style scenes outside Deutsche Bank on Monday...It's very sad what's happening."
According to the FT, Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat is also set to leave the bank after presiding over an unceasing stream of embarrassing AML losses.
In a farewell email obtained by efinancialcareers, Ritchie said DB's corporate and investment bank had been his "home for almost half my life and nearly all my work working career."
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, even the challenging moments," Ritchie said, adding that he has made many friends at the bank.
To be sure, if Sewing's restructuring fails to right-size the struggling bank and clients continue to pull their money, the Lehman-style failure could follow in the not-too-distant future.