Germans go native?

Here at MT we’ve heard all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons for people being sacked – too young, too old; too thin, too fat; too quiet, too loud; too ugly, too annoying, too pregnant… But not being German enough?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It’s rare that a senior banker seeking £10m in damages (to ease the pain of being sacked from a £2m per year job) will have much chance of gaining public sympathy. But we reckon Malcolm Perry, who is suing investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort for sacking him because he wasn’t German, may have a better chance than most.

Australian-born Perry was head-hunted from JP Morgan in 2003 to run the investment bank’s fixed income division, but lost his job following its merger with Dresdner Bank, the corporate banking arm of German parent Allianz.

Perry says he was sidelined as the bank embarked on a secret plot to make itself more German. First alerted when lederhosen became compulsory office wear (ok, so we made that bit up) the appointment of chief executive Stefan Jentzsch only served to confirm his fears. According to Perry, the new man was described by one senior director as “not a superstar, but the best we could get in Germany”.

Perry certainly burnt his bridges somehow. According to emails released by the bank, when capital markets head Jens-Peter Neumann was asked whether Perry should be considered to head up the derivatives division, he responded with the not-very-German ‘NFW’ – meaning ‘No f***ing way’. It wasn’t long before Perry was heading for the ‘Ausgang’.

Of course, Dresdner is begging to differ, pointing out huffily that almost half of its executive committee are non-German speakers.

Sour grapes or sour Krauts? It’s up to the tribunal to decide now…

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