Deutsche Bank's CEO vows to bring 'pride back,' finds support among Davos leaders

Key Points
  • In the past few years, the bank has made headlines for all the wrong reasons — from settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, to management reshuffles, weak earnings, constant restructuring, merger speculation and steep stock price falls.
  • Praising Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing's efforts with in his turnaround plans, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said he's doing the right thing.
  • Shares of Deutsche Bank are up nearly 14 percent since the start of this year. However, shares are down nearly 50 percent over a 12-month period.
Ralph Orlowski | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deutsche Bank, the embattled German lender, has found some support among leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

In the past few years, the bank has made headlines for all the wrong reasons — from settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, to management reshuffles, weak earnings, constant restructuring, merger speculation and steep stock price falls.

Nonetheless, business and political leaders at Davos have thrown in their support for the bank's recovery path.

"Deutsche Bank ... suffered some setbacks in the past, but it is basically sound and it can recover and so the question is what are the details of such strategy. And as we discussed with the CEO and the board and all the people concerned, I trust in Deutsche Bank and I will lend my political support to Deutsche Bank," Peter Altmaier, the German minister for economic affairs and energy, told CNBC earlier this week.

European banks are increasingly under pressure to get a strategy in place to deal with an uncertain and fast-changing environment. Interest rates are still at record lows and there's uncertainty around Brexit, along with fears of a global slowdown.

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Barclays CEO: Deutsche Bank's new boss doing the right thing

Praising Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing's efforts in his turnaround plans, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said he's doing the right thing.

"I know Christian. I think he is doing the right things. I think he is a very talented executive," Staley said.

"I think they have recapitalized the bank, they are moving the bank towards profitability and as Christian has said, let's get Deutsche organized and, in the right place, and then let us think about what other options there might be," he added.

Sewing took the helm in April 2018 after replacing John Cryan, the bank's leader for nearly three years. Speaking to German weekly publication Die Zeit on the sidelines of WEF, Sewing said he wants to make Deutsche Bank a place that lives up to his standards.

"I want to get my job right, I want to have the right values and I want to have the passion in this bank like before; we need to bring pride back to Deutsche Bank."

Christian Sewing, the new CEO of Deutsche Bank, speaks at the Deutsche Bank annual shareholders' meeting on May 24, 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany. Shareholders, frustrated by years of poor performance by Deutsche Bank, are calling for Achleitner to step down.
Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images

However, ever since Sewing took over, he's been faced with challenges. Earlier this week, a report in Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, said the U.S. Federal Reserve was investigating the German lender's role in a money laundering scandal at Danske Bank. Deutsche was quick to deny any probe, but said it had received a number of requests for information from regulators and authorities around the world. The bank has iterated that it's yet to see any evidence of wrongdoing on its part.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the bank said it had received an inquiry from two U.S. House of Representatives committees on the lender's ties to President Donald Trump.

Shares of Deutsche Bank are up nearly 14 percent since the start of this year. However, shares are down nearly 50 percent over a 12-month period.