Dobson replaces Craven on Deutsche board

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The Independent Online
Michael Dobson, chief executive of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, is to replace John Craven on Deutsche Bank's main group board next week.

The surprise announcement is expected to be confirmed when Deutsche reveals its results next Thursday. Sources denied speculation that Mr Craven, who is only 55, and the architect of the deal between Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank, was being pushed out.

It is said he asked for the move himself, to be able to devote more time to clients as a senior corporate financier.

The reshuffle surprised observers, however. One former insider said: "Craven is held in very high regard by the Germans. He has achieved everything there is to achieve in investment banking. I can only guess that he decided to get out on the crest of a wave."

The promotion caps the meteoric rise of Mr Dobson, who is 42 and was only made chief executive of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in October 1994 when the German bank announced its plan to base its global investment banking operations in London.

Another observer commented: "It makes sense. Dobson is a real matinee idol figure. He's got a real presence about him. Craven was great for sorting out Morgan after the Blue Arrow fiasco, but now they need someone to pull a much younger group of people together.

"For instance, they've got a big new securities dealing room on Houndsditch and the flotation mandate from Halifax Building Society. They need to build an equity sales and trading operation fast, and Dobson looks like the man for the job."

Mr Dobson has spearheaded the integration of the operations, and the rapid expansion of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, which has set itself the target of becoming one of the world's leading investment banking houses by the end of the decade.

John Craven will remain the chairman of Morgan Grenfell Group, the legal entity in London of the merchant banking division that has now been fully integrated into the Deutsche group.

Deutsche's decision to turn its back on Frankfurt in favour of the City as the hub of its investment banking ambitions was a watershed. Since then, several Continental banks have focused their investment banking attention on London, either building up existing small operations here or making big acquisitions. Dresdner Bank, Deutsche's main rival, bought Kleinwort Benson soon afterwards.

Since the decision to build its investment banking operation around Morgan Grenfell, Deutsche has been one of the most aggressive hirers in the City. Some 185 people have been hired since the beginning of 1995, over half in London.

For example, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell has just poached John Winter, formerly managing director of capital markets at Merrill Lynch in Frankfurt. Mr Winter starts in a fortnight as Deutsche's head of debt capital markets in London.

DMG, as the combined operation is named, has embarked on the next stage of its expansion, focusing on building up a full equity trading, research and sales capacity in London.