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Deutsche Bank's investment bank head and the "no energy vampires"

It's been a while since Mark Fedorcik, the co-head of Deutsche's investment bank, appeared on a podcast. Now he's back, and he's all about positivity. ✨✨

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Fedorcik, who's been at Deutsche in New York for nearly three decades and who's seen the bank's morale recover from its 57% nadir of 2018 to a more jolly 70% rate of "employee commitment"  in 2023, uses the podcast to interview Jon Gordon, a man who's written a medieval allegory about a bus. "The fable is what drew me in," Fedorcik declares. “I love your energy. I love this book” 

Gordon's bus, which is a metaphor for life/organizations, is driven by a driver called "Joy". Joy teaches his passengers rules for the 'ride of their life,' chief among which is "don't be a complainer or a blamer." - "The minute you take ownership, the minute you say you are the driver of the bus, you can change your energy," Gordon tells Fedorcik.

Joy is, however, assailed by doomers. Complaining and blaming are features of "no energy vampires," says Gordon. These are the passengers who "breed negativity" and who "suck the life out of a team," with their "pessimistic outlook." Allowing no energy vampires is akin to allowing someone to walk through your mind with dirty feet, reflects Gordon, "We cannot allow someone else's negativity to sabotage our work."  Negative thoughts can be problematic, he adds: “Don’t listen to negative thoughts. They are lies.” 

The implication is that if you encounter Fedorcik in an interview, you probably want to exude some heavy positive vibes. It also seems that if you work for Deutsche Bank already, you don't want to challenge the bank's strategy of hiring heavily and acquiring Numis in the belief that investment banking revenues will return strongly.

It's not clear whether Gordon has been running positivity classes at Deutsche Bank, but it seems likely. In his intro, Fedorcik says Gordon has helped organizations "like" DB.  

Gordon would argue that he's about realism,"It's not Pollyanna positivity," he says, referring to a bias for being stubbornly upbeat irrespective of circumstances. "You can have a bad day sometimes, but the key is, let's not have a string of bad days, let's not have a bad week, let's not let your bad day ruin everyone else's productivity and performance."

Gordon's enthusiasm is evidently popular at Deutsche Bank in New York. It's worth pointing out, though, that sometimes negativity has a point. When Genius Failed, Roger Lowenstein's book on the demise of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, is a cautionary tale of what happens when positivity runs wild. Lowenstein details warnings by people like John Succo, the then-head of the equity derivatives desk at Lehman Brothers, a low energy vampire who cautioned that senior executives didn't really understand the risks involved in derivatives trades. Succo was fired for his pains. Before being proven right.

Fedorcik was head of debt capital markets (DCM) during Deutsche Bank's difficult time under former CEO John Cryan. In 2015/2016, he reportedly cut 100 out of 965 of the firm's DCM bankers. More recently, Deutsche has been accumulating senior bankers under Fabrizio Campelli, whom Fedorcik reports to: it added at least 50 last year. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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