Monday 26 September 2016

The Punt: Deutsche Bank feels generous

Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30

Vice founder Shane Smith Photo: Getty
Vice founder Shane Smith Photo: Getty

Deutsche Bank appears to be feeling generous. Anshu Jain, who stepped down as its co-chief executive officer at the end of last June, received €2.2m in severance pay - and can keep a chauffeured car at the company's expense until he leads another firm.

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Jain, who helped build Deutsche Bank into a fixed-income powerhouse, stepped down amid a series of top-level shuffles across European banks. His successor, John Cryan, took over a lender plagued by legal costs tied to misconduct and doubts over strategy. Jain will have use of an office and secretarial support as well as the chauffeur-driven car "to use to a reasonable extent until June 2017 at the latest or until he assumes another position of professional activity in a leadership function," the bank said, as compensation for a non-competition clause in his contract.

While the expense of a chauffeur and an office may be insignificant for a company of Deutsche Bank's size, the perks send a negative signal to the firm's employees as they face layoffs and bonus cuts, according to Alex Edmans, a finance professor at London Business School. But others say it's a smart move. "While this may look overly generous, it probably has made it easier for Deutsche Bank to deal with another distraction and get on with the monumental job of getting back on track," said Christopher Wheeler, a London-based analyst at Atlantic Equities.

The state of the nation in figures

That number-crunchers’ delight, the ‘Economist’ magazine’s ‘Pocket World in Figures’ has just been published for 2016 – marking its 25th edition.

Number-cruncher or not, it is hard to resist looking to see how the old homeland shapes up. There is some bad news: the fourth highest burden of household debt, the seventh greatest beer drinkers and – not surprisingly – the 19th most obese men. We are also the sixth worst gamblers in the world, losing an average $488 per person per year.

Still, the balance seems to be on the side of good news. Even leaving aside the problematic stellar GDP ratings, Ireland ranks fourth in the EU, 11th in the world on the human development index, and the same for social progress. In 2013, Ireland didn’t even make it into the 25 most heavily-taxed countries (Britain was 18th).

Despite having the sixth highest cost of living in the EU, Irish people are the most generous, with 60pc giving something to good causes.

Vice TV reaches for the Sky

Sky has agreed a deal with Vice, the achingly hip youth media company founded by former Baggot Inn bartender Shane Smith, to launch Viceland, the latter’s first European television channel, later this year. The distribution deal is non-exclusive and Vice is also understood to be in negotiations with rival pay-TV operators Virgin Media and BT ahead of the launch in September. Sky has, however, secured some exclusive programming rights and its sales force will also market advertising on the channel.

Viceland will feature original programming targeting a core audience of ‘millennial’ viewers – typically defined as those born after 1980 – on controversial subjects such as drugs, sexuality and discrimination.

Chief executive Smith has also laid claim to a breakthrough in more traditional television fodder with “the first cooking show for millennials”. The programme is presented by a rapper and former chef named Action Bronson.

His ability to connect with hard-to-reach millennials has made Smith, who has Irish parents, a fortune – Vice’s last investment round in December valued the company at more than $4bn. The company’s other major shareholders include Fox.

Irish Independent

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