CEO Josef Ackermann’s sexist comment that there are no women on the firm’s executive committee, BUT-
“But I hope it will be prettier and more colourful one day” when more women are named.
But the firm’s explanation for it is much worse.
A Deutsche Bank spokesman made a statement that Ackermann’s comment was taken “out of context” and that Ackermann is a “gentleman of the old school.”
The quote was mildly funny before we heard that. (In fact, you’re going to have a hard time convincing us that it wasn’t a joke.)
But now he or his firm are just laughing it off like, oh, he’s just being silly Mr. Ackermann again, he’s got his “old school” goggles on, which makes all women look the same, pretty and pink.
The firm is just opening itself up to criticism by making this look like (or maybe, admitting) that a comment he made seriously because he’s “old school.” Like his brain is in 192-never and he actually thinks that women add colour and prettiness to meetings.
Clearly he either 1) knows zero corporate women / is delusional or 2) was joking.
If #1 is true, it’s a serious issue. Get that man the heck out of leadership.
If #2 is true, which we think it is, it was a stupid joke that shows a lack of judgement. It’s pretty serious for that reason – part of his job is to be the face of his firm – but otherwise, not a big deal.
Regardless of what he meant, we think this statement would have been a million times better:
Mr. Ackmermann tries too hard to be funny sometimes. Unfortunately, he has a terrible sense of humour. As a result, he tried to tell a joke, it fell flat, and so people took it seriously.
Instead, Deutsche Bank has found itself having to answer for a slip-up worse than Blankfein’s over one year ago.
It may even be the worst of these: Click here to see 15 shocking comments men allegedly made in Wall Street sexual harassment cases >