Deutsche Bank’s DWS Rolls Out New Hierarchy, Scraps Job Titles


Deutsche Bank AG’s asset manager is scrapping the role of managing director as it looks to flatten hierarchies and link career progression to performance instead of tenure.

DWS Group on Wednesday replaced all corporate titles with functional role descriptions, Executive Office Head Bjoern Pietsch, one of the leaders of the project, said in a telephone interview.

The roll-out coincided with the announcement of individual bonuses at DWS and Deutsche Bank. This year’s pool at DWS is about as big as last year’s, according to people familiar with the asset manager’s plans.

DWS’s pretax profit rose 16% last year despite declining revenue as the business continued to cut costs. It paid out 200 million euros in bonuses to staff in 2020 for their performance in the previous year.

DWS first announced its decision to eliminate corporate titles in late 2019 but the pandemic slowed down implementation, Pietsch said, adding that other financial services companies have reached out to learn about the policy.

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Scrapping corporate titles can increase transparency about an employee’s role and may be a better fit when responsibilities shift quickly, Nicole Fischer, Director, Talent and Rewards at Willis Towers Watson Germany, said by email.

However, titles remain standard industry practice and help clients gauge an employee’s seniority, she said. She declined to comment on DWS specifically.

“Functional leadership is better than hierarchical leadership,” said Matthias Scheiff, senior partner at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. “It’s good to eliminate the barriers.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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