Anshu Jain, former Deutsche Bank CEO, dies aged 59

Anshu Jain, the Indian-born banker who helped transform Deutsche Bank from a largely domestic lender into a global financial titan, has died aged 59.

The City of London and Wall Street-trained Jain, who led Deutsche as co-chief executive from 2012 to 2015, had been suffering from stomach cancer, and passed away in the UK on Friday evening, his family confirmed.

“We are deeply saddened that our beloved husband, son, and father . . . passed away overnight after a fierce, five-year battle with duodenal cancer,” Jain’s family said in a statement, adding that he had managed to outlive his doctors’ original prognosis by four years. “To his last day, Anshu stood by his life-long determination to ‘not be a statistic’,” they said.

In a statement released on Saturday Alexander Wynaendts, chair of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank, said: “Anshu Jain played a key role in expanding Deutsche Bank’s position in our global business with companies and institutional investors. Today, this is of strategic importance not just for Deutsche Bank, but for Europe as a financial centre.”

Jain, a pioneer of derivatives trading, joined Germany’s largest lender in 1995 from Merrill Lynch, where he had set up and run a unit covering hedge funds around the world. He rose quickly through the ranks.

After his mentor Edson Mitchell — the American who ran Deutsche’s investment banking arm — died in a plane crash in 2000, Jain became head of Deutsche’s global markets business, before co-leading the investment banking division in 2004.

He jointly oversaw a period of rapid growth in which the unit generated the vast bulk of Deutsche’s profits, briefly helping it become the world’s largest bank. Jain took sole control of the division in 2010, when he out-earned the then-CEO Josef Ackermann.

In what was then a rare achievement for an outsider with less-than-polished German, the Jaipur-born and Delhi-raised Jain was elevated to the top job at Deutsche Bank in 2012, and made co-chief executive alongside German Jürgen Fitschen. He commanded one of the largest salaries in global banking and drew praise from significant investors including Larry Fink, the boss of the bank’s single largest shareholder, BlackRock.

However shareholder unrest over lackluster profits, spiraling costs, labor altercations and repeated clashes with Deutsche’s Frankfurt establishment led to Jain’s departure in the summer of 2015, two years before his contract was up.

The bank was also under pressure from regulators, who raised concerns about its internal culture. Deutsche had been forced to pay billions of euros to settle accusations over Libor manipulation and faced investigations over money laundering and foreign exchange abuses.

After briefly stepping back, Jain returned to financial services in 2017 as president of American investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, while also acting as an adviser to online bank SoFi.

Christian Sewing, Deutsche chief executive, said: “Anyone who worked with Anshu experienced a passionate leader of intellectual brilliance. His energy and loyalty to the bank left a great impression on many of us. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife, his children and his mother. We will honor his memory.”

Michele Faissola, an Italian financier and former top lieutenant of Jain, said: “Anshu was a brilliant leader and a great friend. His ability to understand clients’ problems and find innovative solutions was second to none. He was able to grasp a complex situation, analyze it and advise the best course of action in short order. Unique talents. He will be greatly missed.”

Fink, chair and chief executive of BlackRock, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by Jain’s death.

“I got to know Anshu while he was at Merrill Lynch and we stayed close as his career grew, including his time at Deutsche. I will always be grateful for the time we had together,” Fink said.

“He will be remembered for his leadership in financial services and his deep commitment to conservation. My thoughts are with his wife, children, family, and friends during this difficult time.”