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Deutsche Bank CFO Urges Staff to Cut Travel to Hit Cost Goal

William Canny, Steven Arons
James von Moltke, chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank AG, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank AG’s chief financial officer wants staff to think twice before booking a flight.

James von Moltke urged employees in a memo circulated Friday to “take every opportunity to restrict non-essential travel” until the end of the year. “With your help, we will meet our cost-reduction targets,” he wrote.

The travel curbs are the latest example of the cost-cutting drive under new Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing, which has targeted perks such as first-class train tickets and even daily fruit bowls, Bloomberg reported this month. Sewing vowed in April that he will keep expenses below 23 billion euros ($26 billion) in 2018, largely by shedding at least 4,000 jobs by the end of the year. Instilling a more austere attitude toward travel is another essential element of Sewing’s and von Moltke’s effort to cut non-compensation expenses.

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A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment.

The bank doesn’t break out travel spending in its results. But in the last quarter, general and administrative expenses, a category that includes travel, fell by 6 percent year-on-year to the lowest in at least four years.

Last month, the CFO invited all Deutsche Bank employees to submit their own cost-cutting proposals, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified. More than 500 submissions were received during the first 24 hours, the person said.

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“We are grateful for the many ideas contributed by employees,” von Moltke wrote in the memo. “Among these, travel expenditure is one of the most frequently-raised topics.”

Updates with costs in fifth paragraph and chart.

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