Deutschland Digest: Market Commentary – Q1 2020

Author James Casey
April 25, 2020

This is not the same commentary that we planned to write at the start of March. However, the world finds itself in a completely new situation and much of what we wished to discuss in this article is either no longer relevant or not important at this time. There have been some changes in the market that we will still cover and we will still provide an overview of our hiring activity for the first quarter of 2020, but beyond this we would like to step away from any specific industry focus for this issue.

The coming weeks and months will not be easy and many will struggle, but we will all come through this together. Marie and I will be here to help in any form in which we are able, not only on a professional front but for anyone who just wants to talk. More broadly, all of us at Frazer Jones will happily support any need you might have either professionally or personally. We want you to know that we are here for you and will be working our very hardest to ensure we as a team come out of this in the best possible shape once this crisis has passed.

Beyond this, I think everyone reading this will have had enough of hearing about the obvious and would prefer to focus on more positive topics. To wit, I would like to cordially invite all readers of this commentary to attend a series of ‘virtual’ HR networking circles that I plan to set up in the coming weeks. These will have no topic or focus, rather they will allow HR leaders from across the country to network with one another on whatsoever they desire, be it crisis related or otherwise.

More information will follow in the coming weeks, however if you would be interested to attend such an event then please drop myself or Marie a message.

Market Overview

In the financial services space, a number of firms took further steps to prepare for the expected wave of hires that would come about towards the second half of this year, following on from expected progress in the Brexit negotiations. However, much of this planning is currently on hold for now and will recommence later in the year.

Some big changes happened within Citigroup. The former German CEO, Stefan Wintels, moved into a global co-lead role for the FIG business. Kristine Braden has in turn been appointed Cluster CEO in Frankfurt, whilst also taking on responsibility for the European Broker Dealer business. This paints a picture in which Frankfurt plays a much more central and prominent role in the EMEA business strategy.

At JP Morgan, similar senior staffing changes indicate an increased prominence of Germany in the future European banking landscape, with Dorothee Blessing having been recently appointed as the new co-lead for their EMEA business, run out of Frankfurt.

Moving across to the legal market, January saw the global law firm, Dentons, strengthen its Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice in the country with the recruitment of Dr. Thomas Nebel, who joined the Düsseldorf office as a partner. This is the second lateral hire for disputes in Düsseldorf within just a few months.

That same month, the international law firm, Bird & Bird,  launched its HR Data Essentials site dedicated to the crossover between Privacy & Data Protection and international HR services.

Top Japanese law firm, Nishimura & Asahi, announced it would launch two offices in Germany: in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. The company is the first of Japan’s ‘Big Four’ law firms to expand into Europe. German operations will be co-led by partner Noriya Ishikawa and foreign law partner Dr Dominik Kruse, and will be supplemented by a branch office in Düsseldorf.

In the management consulting world, some change have also been observed.  To further address the needs of its clients, global consulting firm, Protiviti, has expanded its geographical footprint, opening an additional two offices in Düsseldorf and Berlin.

Additionally, global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, announced earlier this year its acquisition of Orpheus GmbH, a Germany-founded leading provider of spend analytics technology. Shortly after, they launched Spend Intelligence by McKinsey, a new service that combines Orpheus’ advanced platform technology with McKinsey’s industry expertise and content-rich services in digital procurement.

Frazer Jones Activity

The start of the year was incredibly busy for us and we worked on a number of very attractive assignments, including:

Though hiring activities have slimmed somewhat in the current climate for certain businesses and sectors, this is only temporary to see out the short term crisis, but we remain busy across the brand and many firms continue to press ahead with hiring despite this. If you are looking for your next HR challenge, or you are a HR leader who would like to add talent to the team, please drop an email to


No adequate forecast can really be made at this time, we must first focus on the present. The challenges for the next three months will be stark for us all. But it is important not to let these challenges get the better of us. So long as we focus on staying healthy, follow governmental guidance and keep an eye out for one another, we will get through this. To reiterate the point at the start of this article, all of us at Frazer Jones and across the SR Group will do whatever we can to  help. Take care, everyone.