The debate also parallels concern about the direction of Deutsche’s investment bank, whose swift expansion in the years leading up to the financial crisis is blamed for many of the bank’s current woes.
Revenue at the investment bank in 2017 was down 25 percent compared with 2015, a steeper fall than those suffered by its competitors. The division employed more than 41,000 staff at the end of 2017, up 4 percent from 2015, but key staff have left.
The bank is conducting a global review of the investment bank, known internally as Project Colombo, a person with direct knowledge of the matter has said.
Cryan, the son of a jazz musician, is married into the wealthy Du Pont family of the United States. He was appointed to the helm of Deutsche in 2015 to overhaul the bank after years of rapid growth under investment bankers.
But his tumultuous tenure as CEO highlights many of the bank’s underlying issues.
Early on, Cryan quickly announced thousands of job cuts to trim costs but reversed the bank’s plans to sell its Postbank retail unit after tepid interest from buyers.
Meanwhile, the bank announced earlier this year that it would report its third consecutive annual loss for 2017.
The German government and some of the nation’s most senior politicians criticized Cryan for paying 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in staff bonuses despite those losses, four times higher than the previous year.
One board member, Kim Hammonds, told leadership at a recent meeting that the bank was “the most dysfunctional company” she had ever worked for, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Over the past weeks, a number of names have surfaced in the media as possible replacements for Cryan. But some analysts wonder whether anyone would be able to do a better job on turning the bank around.
“There has been actually a disciplined execution in a tough environment by this team,” said Peter Nerby, who analyses the bank for Moody’s. “I wonder if anyone really has a better way to get there. It’s not obvious to me what that way would be.”