Anshu Jain, a top finance executive best known for helping German lender Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) take on the largest Wall Street firms, died overnight on Saturday after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said. He was 59.
Jain, who was born in India, spent two decades building Deutsche Bank into one of the world’s top universal banks. He was the first non-European to lead the German institution.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and the European debt crisis that followed, Jain pushed Deutsche to remain Europe’s “last man standing” as U.S. firms pulled ahead in global banking.
The years of expansion into risky investment banking businesses came back to haunt the bank, as regulation made complex trades more costly. As co-chief executive he struggled to cut back the risk and to get a grip on a long list of scandals that led to billions of dollars in fines.
He resigned from the German lender in 2015, and had been the president of U.S. financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald since 2017.
“He will be remembered for his leadership in financial services and his deep commitment to conservation,” said Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock Inc, who said he knew Jain well.
Born in the Indian city of Jaipur, Jain earned his bachelors at the University of Delhi before completing an MBA at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
A lifelong vegetarian, he loved wildlife photography, safaris in Kenya’s Masaai Mara and wilderness conservation, his family said.
He joined Deutsche in 1995 to launch a division specializing in hedge funds and derivatives. He then headed bond trading and emerging markets and later, as head of the investment bank, he out-earned his boss, then-CEO Josef Ackermann.
He was appointed to Deutsche’s management board in 2009 and was responsible for the corporate and investment bank division from 2010. From 2012 to 2015, he was co-CEO.
“Anyone who worked with Anshu experienced a passionate leader of intellectual brilliance,” said present CEO, Christian Sewing.
Jain was diagnosed in January 2017 with duodenal cancer, which affects the small intestine, but managed to outlive his initial diagnosis by four years, the family said.
“To his last day, Anshu stood by his lifelong determination to ‘not be a statistic’,” the family said.