Respite for Your Worried Boss



The World Economic Forum is providing the setting for top bankers to express their views about issues of global concern. For managers under pressure, this amounts to some sort of escapism – in the beautiful setting of Davos.

The worries obviously don't disappear when your average top manager or politician breathes in the clean mountain air in Davos. People fleeing to avoid the atrocities committed by terrorists in Syria and Iraq? Torrential rainfall that cause flooding and the destruction of homes and farmland?

Or the daily concerns weighing on business leaders. Worried in Davos?

No More Cash

John Cryan, the new CEO of Deutsche Bank (pictured below), was one to display acute signs of escapism. The bank on Wednesday issued a profit warning. The restructuring process and job cuts have led to a loss of no less than 6.7 billion euros. Taking the stage in Davos, the British banker, who was deeply respected for his down-to-earth attitude while CFO at UBS, didn't say much about the explosive news from Frankfurt. Instead he explained why cash will be a thing of the past in ten years time.

John Cryan 500

The cynical view is that in Frankfurt, the future has arrived much faster than expected with cash in short supply already.

Rumors, Rating Cut, Share Slump

Tidjane Thiam (pictured below), the CEO of Credit Suisse (CS), in a panel session with Blackrock boss Larry Fink entertained the public in Davos discussing the difficulties of taking strategic decisions at a time of growing complexity and insecurity.

thiam 500

Complexity and insecurity perhaps are accurate words describing the situation at CS. The man welcomed with open arms when he took the scene at Switzerland's No. 2 last year, in Davos had to counter rumors that he was about to jump ship to succeed Christine Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund.

Quite apart from his personal situation, Thiam might have had a word or two to say about the plight of his employer: Moody has cut the rating of CS and the share has dropped to the lowest in three years. Furthermore, CS may be about to announce a goodwill write-down of a billion francs, which may well have caused the bank to record a loss last year.

Out of Africa and Far Away From Home

And then we had Jes Staley (pictured below), a man who until recently sat on the board of UBS. He travelled to Davos as the new boss of U.K. banking giant Barclays. But not his appearance at the WEF caught the headlines.

Barclays is about to wield the axe. Staley plans to cut 1,000 jobs in investment banking. The company may give up on markets such as Australia and South Korea. And business in Africa, where Barclays is one of strongest Western institutes, may soon have to wave goodbye to the Brits.

Jes Staley 500 kopie

Barclays out of Africa and Staley – not out of Barclays – but far away from home: the casual observer of events in Davos may have concluded that the WEF is an ideal location for a bank manager under fire to take some time off. Not for long though. Reality lurks round the corner.



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