Germany is a country where reliability and professionalism are exemplary.
Germany continues to impress me. Born a few days before Hitler’s suicide, it took me, and more importantly my parents, at least two decades to look at the country and its citizens as different from the Nazis. I found friendship with German men and women straightforward, simple and natural. The first time I received Angela Merkel at the NYSE, I could not have imagined how powerful and remarkable she would become. A modern country that produced Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt must have something good deeply rooted.
I consider that Germany has been able to drive itself and Europe with a level of intelligence, vision and courage that avoided the collapse of the European sovereign and banking crisis. the recent migrant crisis in Europe exemplified that visionary leadership.
Deutsche Bank has been a fifty year relationship in a number of ways from the creation of the European banking: from Hermann Abs and Wilfried Guth to Alfred Herrausen, it produced CEOs that made me proud of being a banker. I tried to emulate in particular the extraordinary clarity and simplicity of exposure of complex problems I learned from Wilfried Guth. Despite its current difficulties, it remains a cornerstone of its country and Europe. It is now confronted with its deepest and strongest challenge. The listing of Deutsche bank on the NYSE was a unique event coinciding with the visit of President George W. Bush. My metro card became the only escape from downtown to their meetings uptown. It is probably the first and last time that the executive team of Deutsche Bank used together the New York subway.
Deutsche Boerse is a unique stock exchange. Invited by its previous Chairman, Rolf Breuer and its new one to present a vision for the future to its Vorstand, I advised the Exchange through Kurt Viermetz, Reto Francioni and Andreas Preuss for many years and participated to their attempt to acquire Euronext who chose to be embraced by the NYSE, much to its demise. It was the initiative of its Chairman. Thye became friends.
SAP listed its shares on the NYSE after a huge fight with NASDAQ and its Chairman… Bernie Madoff whose Ponzi scheme destroyed 50 billion dollar of wealth. I still remember this listing when several teams played volley ball on Wall Street. SAP had brought 100 tons of sand for this purpose.