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Deutsche Bank's nice low-ego survivor has been cut, and it's emotional

James Davies when he started at Deutsche Bank

James Davies has had a long innings at Deutsche Bank. He joined Deutsche in 2000 as a self-described "earnest young lawyer" in London, and he's leaving 24 years later after his most recent stint as chairman of the investment and corporate banks' American executive committee in New York.

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Writing on LinkedIn, Davies says his exit has unleashed, "a huge spectrum of emotions from grief to fear to liberation." He adds that as everyone who knows him will know, he feels his emotions "very strongly" and that he now has," huge empathy for anyone who has been in my position." 

The implication is that Davies was cut. He adds that few people in financial services get to choose the circumstances of their final chapter at a firm and that he is "no exception."

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. 

Davies has been in America since 2018, when he was moved to the US as head of the investment bank in the Americas. That role then went to Barclays veteran Anil Atluri in January 2023, when Davies was moved into the chairman position.

Before migrating across the Atlantic, Davies was a rising star in the London structuring world. His move to the US came as a surprise. "Davies is mostly a structurer," one DB insider told us in 2018. "He doesn't know much about the U.S. market and he's not an expert on U.S. regulations. It seems very odd."

Sources say that Davies was popular at Deutsche Bank because he's a nice low-ego guy who doesn't take himself too seriously and "presents well."  Another former colleague described Davies as, "One of the few half-decent people to thrive at Deutsche Bank."

Writing on LinkedIn, Davies said he's too "young to retire" and that he's not clear what he'll do next. He ends by saying that, "For those who work in the sector, I would remind you that these jobs are a privilege - if you aren’t enjoying what you do, it’s time to take a hard look at yourself. One life and all that. If you are enjoying it and see the privilege, take a look around and ask yourself how you can extend the invitation to as many people as possible who wouldn’t ordinarily get the shot, or even think to ask."

Deutsche Bank is cutting 3,500 jobs and removing €1bn in costs. It's understood not to be appointing a replacement for Davies as US chairman.

Friends of Davies said he's likely to find a new job quickly. Dan Pietzrak, the current co-head of private credit at KKR who worked with Davies as former co-head of Deutsche's structured finance business, may well help his old colleague out. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Pa
    13 March 2024

    Is there any connection between him being sacked by Deutche Bank and Donald Trump?

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