Earlier this week, we drew attention to a photo of what we (and much of the Internet) assumed were freshly fired Deutsche Bank employees heading for the exits after cleaning out their desks.
At the time, we felt the photo was notable, if for no other reason than one of the men pictured was carrying a ‘Bitcoin’ bag, which allowed us to joke about junior DB bankers inundating crypto startups with resumes.
But as we learned on Wednesday, the story behind the photo is much more complex – and a much worse look for the bank’s managers, who accidentally stumbled into an embarrassing PR blunder.
As Financial News reports, on the morning that DB was beginning the process of laying off 18,000 employees, some MDs in its London office were getting fitted for suits that cost £1,500 ($1,875).
The two men pictured above? They’re not traders or analysts – they’re tailors. Those are garment bags they’re carrying. Their names were Ian Fielding-Calcutt and Alex Riley, and they work for Fielding & Nicholson Tailoring.
“It was just a coincidence that we were snapped coming out of the building at the time others were being sacked,” Fielding-Calcutt, the owner of the tailoring firm, told Financial News.
On Sunday, DB unveiled its $8.3 billion restructuring plan, which involves suspending its dividend, shuttering its global equities business, and dramatically reducing its headcount, and will likely result in the bank booking a net loss this year. The layoffs began on Monday at the bank’s offices in Asia, then continued throughout the global day.
And the layoffs were telegraphed well in advance, meaning that the MDs knew they would be getting fitted for suits as thousands of employees were being let go. They just didn’t care.