The Indian flag is flying high in Deutschland. Anshuman Jain has joined the likes of Indra Nooyi and Vikram Pandit in scaling the pinnacle of corporate achievement by becoming yet another Indian to be put in charge of steering a multinational, in this case, arguably Europe’s most venerable bank.
Jain, 48, currently the head of Deutsche Bank AG’s investment banking division in London was named co-chief executive of Germany's largest lender. He will succeed Management Board Chairman Josef Ackermann, who exits the bank in May next year.
Jain will lead Deutsche along with his German doppelgänger, Juergen Fitschen, who is 14 years older than Jain.
The appointment does not come without its small share of controversy. “The bank is resorting to a dual CEO structure for the fourth time in its history, despite the potential for conflict and even a power struggle between the two, because handing the reins to Mr Jain alone was seen as too much of a culture shock, according to people familiar with the matter,” Laura Stevens, Berlin-based reporter for The Wall Street Journal, wrote in an article earlier this week.
In some ways, the responsibilities bestowed upon Jain perhaps speak of a greater accomplishment than being given the reins of an American corporate like Pepsi or Morgan Stanley, co-CEO issues aside. Germany is not quite the great melting pot that the United States is. Here, immigrants rarely scale the Teutonic ladder of corporate excellence to its very apex. However, Germans will point to Jain as proof that this is indeed possible.
It is easy to see why Jain has won this coveted spot. He is known for his hard work and academic brilliance over the 16 years he has spent at Deutsche and has earned a great reputation by transforming the company’s investment banking operations into a solidly profitable business.
Detractors of the co-CEO decision will argue that surely a person, whose division has given its corporate parent more than 70% of its profits, deserves a shot at running the ship by himself.
Reports, however, allude to Jain’s inability to be fluent in German as one of the reasons why a co-CEO position was devised. Fitschen, who reportedly has good relations with German industry, can act as the face of the bank to shareholders, while Jain runs the bank and aims to become fluent in German. This way Jain gets his due and the bank ensures no communication conundrums.
Born in Jaipur, Rajasthan and educated both in India (BA in economics from Delhi University) and the United States (MBA in finance from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Jain was previously a managing director at Merrill Lynch in New York. At Merrill he founded and led the security industry's first dedicated hedge fund client coverage group.
Prior to his appointment as co-CEO, Jain was responsible for corporate finance, sales and trading and transaction banking businesses at Deutsche. He has also been a member of Deutsche’s management board since 2009 and the group executive committee since 2002. He joined the bank in 1995.
Jain is a dogged cricket enthusiast whose opinion article in Newsweek on the 2011 World Cup apparently raised hackles at Deutsche. “Cricket now has a champion in the world of finance. Anshu Jain, head of Deutsche Bank's investment banking arm has written an ode in Newsweek to the only game that can last five days and still end in a draw,” read an article on Jain that appeared earlier this year on DealBook, a financial news service . Apparently, fellow Deutsche bankers rued his passion for a game that football-crazy Germans could not possibly appreciate or understand.
Jain remains unperturbed and proudly displays a cricket shirt signed by Australian cricket twins Steve and Mark Waugh on one of his office walls. His other hobby is wildlife photography.
His appointment as the co-CEO, however, has not drawn criticism from any quarters. Instead, critics and supporters have been unanimous in praising him. “I could ask for no better partner than Anshu in building further on the bank's success in our home market and worldwide,” said Jain's counterpart Fitschen.
Jain returned the complement: “I'm humbled and honoured at having been asked to lead this great institution together with Juergen.”