Deutsche Bank seeks older women to change culture, improve reputation

Aiming for 35 per cent female leaders by 2018

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — Deutsche Bank is on the lookout for mature, tech-savvy women who it thinks will be better team players to help change its corporate culture and rebuild its reputation in the wake of the financial crisis.

The bank is being forced to rethink the way it does business after short-term bonus incentives led to risky deals which hurt profits. Deutsche is also being probed by regulators over possible rigging of the Libor benchmark international lending rate and for the way it sold toxic assets to investors.

"You could say having trustworthy bankers is enough to rebuild trust in the banking industry," said Stephan Leithner, head of human resources and compliance at Germany's flagship lender. "It is not enough. In future you need to have other qualities."

"Let me be provocative: The banker of the future will be more female, more international, older, more team oriented and more mobile, and needs to enjoy working with technology," Leithner told a seminar for young high-potential bankers in Frankfurt.

By 2018, Deutsche Bank said in September it wants to raise the proportion of female staff in senior leadership positions to 25 per cent from around 17 per cent in 2011. It is also seeking to raise the proportion of women in overall leadership positions to 35 per cent by 2018 from around 29.7 per cent in 2011.

"In many situations, female staff contribute toward team orientation, partnership and long-term sustainability," Leithner, a former co-head of corporate finance said.

Deutsche's move to promote female employees comes as German Family Affairs Minister Kristina Schroeder renewed her push to introduce a quota for women in management positions.

Schroeder has proposed a so-called flexible quota legally obliging companies to set their own benchmarks. Sanctions would be imposed if they missed them.

In the future, Deutsche Bank will also tend to employ older, better educated staff, Leithner said.

"Bankers need to be more educated and spend more time learning. It means that many people will be asked to re-invent themselves," Leithner said.

Technological know-how is growing in importance, Leithner added, as clients are demanding access to bank services over different technological platforms and new regulations are forcing lenders to raise risk-management capabilities and control systems.

Around 25 per cent of staff at Deutsche Bank are already working in jobs involving technology such as payment systems, Leithner said.

Staff who are international and have moved around in different departments have good opportunities at Deutsche, Leithner said.

Last month the Frankfurt-based lender which has around 100,000 employees, said it will cut 1,993 jobs by the end of the year and overhaul its businesses to see if products and services add value for the real economy, whether they eat up too much capital, and whether they throw off enough profit.

Banks remain years away from developing business models that will produce sustainable profits, according to a report by consultants McKinsey published in October.

It said return on equity — a key measure of profitability — fell to 7.6 per cent for global banks last year, well short of their 10 per cent to12 per cent cost of equity.

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