Cryan Says Deutsche Bank in ‘Third Phase’ of Turnaround Plan

Deutsche Bank AG’s John Cryan on Thursday defended his strategy for Germany’s largest lender, saying its turnaround has entered a “third phase” in which growth should finally be restored.

The chief executive officer, in a speech in Berlin late Thursday, said that since he first announced his vision for the company in 2015, he strengthened controls and reduced legal risks in a “‘first phase,” then realigned business divisions in a “second phase” that started in March.

“The third phase has now begun,” Cryan said, according to a copy of his speech. “We are again being asked whether our business model can actually work. I can assure you we are convinced that we are on the right track.”

Cryan and his lieutenants, including deputy CEOs Marcus Schenck and Christian Sewing, have been pleading with investors for patience as Deutsche Bank shows few signs of restoring top-line growth. The lender earlier this month said it would report a third consecutive annual loss amid writedowns tied to the U.S. tax reform and an unexpected slump in fourth-quarter trading.

Even before the latest earnings update, three of the largest shareholders have said they may stop supporting Cryan unless performance improves by the time of the annual shareholder meeting in May.