Deutsche Bank Loses Crocker, Burnham, Other Senior Execs After Failure to Sell Part Of Asset Management Unit

Several senior executives, including co-head of private markets North America John Crocker, have departed Deutsche Bank’s asset and wealth management unit in the past few months as the bank continues restructuring under new leadership, several sources familiar with the situation say.

Sources attributed most of the high-level departures to Deutsche Bank’s failure to sell part of its asset management unit. Last year, Deutsche Bank was in talks to sell some of its fund business to Guggenheim Partners. The negotiations fell apart and, in June, Deutsche Bank concluded a strategic review of its asset management division without finding a buyer. Kevin Parker, who was head of the asset management unit at the time, left Deutsche Bank in late June, sources say.

It was only in late November that Deutsche Bank had promoted Crocker into his new position as co-head of private markets North America; Crocker is a veteran fundraiser who earlier in his career built the funds-of-funds business at DLJ. But Deutsche Bank ended up asking Crocker to leave the bank two weeks later.

Crocker’s short stint as co-head of private markets North America had him heading up private equity funds-of-funds, secondaries and co-investments. He oversaw DB Private Equity/Private Markets, part of the recently merged asset and wealth management units at the German bank, which includes ETFs, the alternatives marketing unit known as RREEF, insurance and private wealth management.

Before leaving, Crocker had reported to Karim Ghannam and Carlo Pirzio-Biroli, global co-heads of private markets and private equity.

Other senior executives have also exited the Deutsche Bank asset and wealth management unit in recent months. Chris Burnham, who joined Deutsche Bank in 2006 as vice chairman and MD of the asset management unit, left the bank at the end of 2012, sources say.

Mark Schroeder, a managing director in the RREEF unit, which raises money for internally managed private equity funds, including infrastructure and real estate, also departed Deutsche Bank in December, sources say. Burnham hired Schroeder in 2010 to build out the alternatives distribution group.

And Chris Minter, the global head of DB private equity, exited the bank in October, sources say. A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman would not confirm the titles of the departing executives (or that of any executives in this story) and declined comment for this article.

Peter Pfister, director of DB Private Equity for Asia Pacific, is expected to leave at the end of the month, a person says.

“It’s not unexpected,” an industry source told peHUB of the turnover. “There’s new leadership over there.”

In June, Deutsche Bank put in place a slew of management changes, including Michele Faissola to head the asset and wealth management group, which merged that month. Faissola came from the capital markets side of the bank and is credited with helping expand Deutsche Bank’s rates and commodities operations and building the ETF business, Bloomberg has reported.

Executive turnover isn’t new on Wall Street. However, the Deutsche Bank exits are significant because the departing executives are very senior, sources say. Burnham, for instance, is the former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as an advisor to Mitt Romney in his recent run for president. Before his promotion and departure at Deutsche Bank, Crocker was a managing director in the RREEF group, where he sold and marketed alternative asset products. Crocker prior to that was at placement agency Atlantic-Pacific Capital where he worked on origination, Private Equity International has reported.

Not all blamed the turnover solely on the failed auction. The high-level departures are part of a global restructuring that Deutsche Bank announced months ago, a source familiar with the situation says. In July, DB said it would cut 1,900 jobs in an effort to reduce $3.67 billion in expenses.

Another source says the departures stem from the regime change in Deutsche Bank’s asset and wealth management unit. The executives that have taken over are those that worked under Faissola, one person says.

Artwork courtesy of Shutterstock

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