MUMBAI: Anshu Jain, who made the exhilarating journey from Jaipur to the pinnacle of Europe’s financial giant Deutsche Bank, died in the UK in the early hours of Saturday at the age of 59.
Jain, who was last with US investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald as president, was co-chief of Deutsche Bank from 2012 to 2015. He played a transformational role in the bank, widening the scope of its global activities. He leaves behind his wife, son and daughter.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved husband, son and father… passed away overnight after a fierce, five-year battle with duodenal cancer,” Jain’s family said in a statement. The family statement said that he outlived his initial diagnosis by four years. “To his last day, Anshu stood by his life-long determination not to be a statistic,” the family said.
Deutsche Bank mourned the death of its former co-CEO and said that Jain played a crucial role in the development of the financial institution and was instrumental in building the company’s global capital markets business.
“Anshu Jain played a key role in expanding Deutsche Bank’s position in our global business with companies and institutional investors. Today, this is of strategic importance not just for Deutsche Bank, but for Europe as a financial centre,” said Alexander Wynaendts, chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank.
“He was not just an excellent banker, but a person par-excellence too. A big loss to India, his loving family and lifelong friends. You will be missed by all, dearest Anshu,” said Gunit Chadha, who was his colleague at Deutsche Bank.
Jain grabbed international headlines when, as the head of the bank’s investment banking division in London, he brought in 80% of the bank’s profits. His candidature for the top post ruffled feathers because he was an outsider who did not speak German and had an investment banking background.
“Sometimes, the word quintessential banker makes people feel that that was the boundary of his excellence; in my view, Anshu would have achieved legendary status in any field he chose. Mediocrity was not for him; he sought excellence in everything he did,” said Chadha. Chadha, who knew Jain for 20 years, describes him as a strategic thinker and a transformational global leader. “He was well-read, highly disciplined, and with exceptional energy”.
Jain was a lifelong vegetarian and loved wildlife photography, safaris in Kenya’s Masaai Mara, and wilderness conservation. In its condolences, Tiger Watch, an organisation promoting wildlife conservation at Ranthambore, described Jain as a crucial supporter of Tiger Watch and numerous other wildlife conservation.
Friends describe cricket as one of his passions, and he briefly owned a stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai Indians. “Anshu was extremely passionate, whether it was about Deutsche Bank, cricket or India. He built deep relationships and was warm, caring and most generous to his passions,” said Chadha.
Challenges in dealing with various stakeholders of the bank forced Jain to step down before his term ended in 2015. The bank also came under pressure from regulators for Libor manipulation during his tenure, through Jain himself was cleared of allegations.
In an interview with TOI in 2014, Jain had attributed some of the problems of the bank to the “long shadow of events” after 2008. He had also expressed his admiration for Rahul Dravid, who he felt had achieved a good balance between what is important in life and in his own sporting achievements.