John A. Rolls who was named president and chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank North America Holding Corp. last week, has plenty of banking experience -- as a customer.
And that appears to be what appeals most to Deutsche Bank. Mr. Rolls gained most of his business experience in the chemicals, consumer electronics, and engineering industries, a background that his employer obviously believes will prove useful.
"We wanted a top man who knows the corporate world," said Ronaldo H. Schmitz, a member of Deutsche Bank's board in Frankfurt with overall supervisory responsibility for North America.
Mr. Rolls himself says his background is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
"The disadvantage is that I have to educate myself about banking," he says. "The advantage is that I bring a different perspective and I bring a client's point of view."
Mr. Rolls, 51, joins Deutsche Bank from United Technologies Corp. as the bank is expanding its operations in North America with the aim of becoming a leading player in corporate finance, credit and capital markets, and trading.
New Interest in U.S.
The German bank has been slower than many other large foreign banks to expand in the United States.
Nonetheless, it has already built a significant presence, with some $4 billion in assets booked in the United States and as much or more in loans to U.S. borrowers booked offshore in the Cayman Islands.
As part of the drive to expand operations, Deutsche Bank set up a separate North American holding company earlier this year and has been rapidly adding staff to develop business with U.S. and Canadian corporations in asset-based and project financing, investment banking, and institutional and private banking.
The bank also plans to set up a unit in Mexico, where it currently has only a representative office.
As the most senior officer of the bank in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Mr. Rolls will be responsible for all the bank's activities as well as large trading activities in foreign exchange securities, and derivative products such as swaps.
Experience in Europe
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Mr. Rolls completed his undergraduate studies at Ohio State University before obtaining a masters degree in business administration from Columbia University.
In 1974, he joined Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, becoming its chief financial officer for Europe in Brussels one year later.
He returned to St. Louis to become corporate treasurer for Monsanto, leaving in 1982 to become an RCA Corp. vice president and treasurer and two years later, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
He joined United Technologies Corp. in Hartford in 1986 as executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Mr. Rolls and his wife Betsy, have two sons and reside in Armonk, N.Y.