Well, in the end it came as no real surprise. Dresdner Bank announces it is to merge its corporate and investment banking businesses, DrKW CEO Andrew Pisker doesn't get the top job, and he quits.
Pisker was in Germany earlier this week, no doubt ironing out the terms of his departure. Although he acknowledges that the move to bring the two businesses together is a sound one, he won't be sticking around to take part in the next instalment of the ongoing Dresdner soap opera. Stefan Jentzsch, recently head of HVB's investment banking unit (did you know it had one ?), will be the man in charge of the combined Dresdner businesses. As part of the restructure, the Wasserstein name may finally be dropped. (So much for $1.4bn!).
Jentzsch is expected to spend the next couple of months conducting a business and strategy review, and is said to be determined to steady the ship in the wake of Pisker's departure.
Although Pisker was a popular leader and many staff will be sad to see him go, the mood over at DrKW is said to be calm. Staff have, after all, seen it all before. Clearly, there are some unanswered questions. For example, will other DrKW senior executives follow Pisker out of the door ? And how will the firm's advisory, corporate broking and research units fit into the new model ? Only time will tell. But talk of mass firings is surely premature. The Financial Times has reported that up to 2,000 jobs could go, and that London is expected to be the hardest hit. This doesn't, however, ring true. Germany will probably see most job losses, as the corporate and investment banking businesses come together and Dresdner's personal banking and private and business banking units also merge. Talk of mass firings in the City seems wide of the mark, especially as Dresdner confirmed earlier this week that it was committed to a strong presence in London.
In the meantime, most DrKW staff will wish Pisker well, and get back to business.