Case Study

Downfall Deutsche Bank

14 pages
October 2017
Reference: IMD-7-1927

The case looks at the leadership, governance, board, strategy and other issues that led up to the downfall of Deutsche Bank. It discusses the ideological shift from stakeholder value harmonization to strong shareholder value maximization, which led to a cultural change from valuing reliability, transparency, fairness, solidarity and justice to valuing quick returns that endangered the bank’s future. The changes had a fundamental impact on board dynamics, organizational structure, strategy, risk, compliance, compensation and relationship with key stakeholders. The case looks at various questions such as: What is the purpose of a corporation? What makes a company viable in the long term? How does an ethical board set the purpose of the company? How should a board pick the right leadership? What makes a great leader? How does a leader’s character influence organizational actions? How can toxic leaders walk away with impunity from the damages they cause and go and work elsewhere? How to define shareholder value? What are the pitfalls of shareholder value maximization? What could be the alternatives of shareholder value maximization?

Learning Objective
  • The ultimate purpose of business
  • Conflicting interests between stakeholders
  • The crucial functions of ethical boards
  • The impact of corporate cultures, leadership succession, and more..
Shareholder Value, Board
Europe, Germany
Deutsche Bank, Finance and Insurance, Banking
Published Sources
© 2017
Available Languages
English, Chinese
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics