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The death of Anshu Jain, former co-chairman of Deutsche Bank

He was one of those fascinating and scandalous figures of the Roaring Twenties of global finance, those which preceded and followed the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Anshu Jain, born into the Indian middle class, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in 1963, the first boss of non-Germanic origin to have risen to the head of Deutsche Bank (DB) after an early career at Merrill Lynch died in London on Saturday August 13 after a long battle with stomach cancer. He was 59 years old.

In a press release published on August 13, the bank honored the legacy of its former boss, who headed the DB’s investment banking department, before sitting on the management board, from 2009, then at position of co-director of the group, between 2012 and 2015. “He played a significant role in the development of Deutsche Bank for two decades and was instrumental in the growth of trading activity on the capital markets,” specify the text. Christian Sewing, the current CEO of the German bank, meanwhile welcomed “a passionate leader, of great intellectual brilliance. He impressed many of us with his energy and loyalty.

Surprisingly laudatory tribute to a boss whom Deutsche Bank nevertheless dismissed without consideration in 2015, when the damage to his reputation was such that the existence of the bank itself seemed seriously compromised. Entangled in scandals, DB is then only the shadow of its prestigious past. Such is the paradox of Anshu Jain: the one who was considered one of the best bankers of his generation exerted a strong fascination on the world of finance in general and on banking executives in particular… until he dragged them into his fall.

Unheard of risks

For two decades, his ambition was to bring Deutsche Bank – a historically central bank in German capitalism, but with long provincial ambitions – to the pinnacle of global finance. To achieve this, he took unprecedented risks, including after the outbreak of the 2008-2009 crisis, realizing too late that the banking regulatory environment had definitely changed.

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The whole story of the character is part of this exceptional aura. His childhood and his studies in economics in India, his move to the United States to obtain an MBA in economics from the University of Massachusetts, and his time at Merrill Lynch bank, from 1988 to 1995. there he meets who will mark his life: the banker Edson Mitchell, a Wall Street figure, whose aggressive methods and flamboyant style have inspired several films on the excesses of American finance.

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