Bill Woodley, CEO, Deutsche Bank Americas
An industry veteran of almost 20 years, Bill Woodley has worked his way up the ranks at Deutsche Bank. With a strong global understanding from holding positions around the world, and roots grounded in the Royal Navy, Bill brings unique perspective along with a sense of duty and commitment to the banking world.
As our Millennial Mentor, we are honored to feature words of wisdom from Bill Woodley, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas.
Why do you believe financial services is such an exciting industry to be a part of today?
To say these are interesting times in the financial services industry is an understatement! Not only because we are at the intersection of global economic development and geopolitical challenges like Brexit, but also due to a wave of technological innovation. If you look at how most financial services firms operate, we are becoming increasingly more like technology companies. At Deutsche Bank, we opened an innovation lab in Silicon Valley in April to evaluate emerging technologies and their applications. The digitization of our industry will be transformational. Being on the cutting edge of innovation is vital not just for the bank but for our clients. Millennials are the driving force of this revolution.
What have you found to be some of the biggest challenges in retaining younger talent and how do you see the industry adapting to meet the expectations of younger employees?
Traditionally, we have faced strong competition from private equity and non-bank peers as well as post-graduate opportunities, but now the challenges in the start-up space and non-profit opportunities are also very attractive. Millennials are decidedly entrepreneurial and socially conscious. Our industry has had to adjust by giving them more responsibility and client exposure earlier in their careers. We have had to focus on long-term career development, expanding opportunities to advance around the world all while building a better culture post-crisis. How we do things is as important as what we do. And of course, our industry is known for long hours and so we have tried to recalibrate the work-life balance equation for our younger hires who are focused on career, family and non-professional pursuits. This has meant a greater focus on efficiency and how work is getting done.
How we do things is as important as what we do.
You have been a big supporter of Deutsche Bank's commitment to the LGBT community as well as the Women on Wall Street program. How is diversity of perspective shaping the future of a traditional industry?
Diversity in the workplace positively impacts a business’ bottom line. Clients are increasingly making it clear to us that diversity is fundamental to good business and when choosing between competitors, they tend to choose businesses that care about what they care about. Deutsche Bank has built more diverse teams to generate better ideas and reach more balanced decisions. Understanding the business impact is a great starting point, but most importantly it is the right thing to do.
If we want to continue to attract the best talent, we need to offer a work environment that employees of every gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and generation want to join.
What excites you most about the opportunities ahead for the millennial generation?
Millennials are not afraid to ask the tough questions. They are not satisfied by the “because that’s the way we have always done it” approach. Their capacity to problem solve, connect across socioeconomic boundaries, and embrace the technology revolution to drive change is inspiring. I think they are capable of coming up with creative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems and will do so with a unique sensitivity for equality, tolerance and social justice.
Millennials are capable of coming up with creative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems and will do so with a unique sensitivity for equality, tolerance and social justice.
What advice would you give to your younger self today that you didn’t know when you were just starting out your career?
Do not be afraid to take on those “stretch roles” when called upon even if you may not feel ready. Whether moving to another country, working with different cultures or learning a new skill set outside of your comfort zone, they are tremendous opportunities for professional and personal growth – embrace the challenge. Expect to be overwhelmed and enjoy the ride.
Embrace the challenge. Expect to be overwhelmed and enjoy the ride.
What is something you've learned from your millennial children?
I am not as young as I think I am! I see their capacity to change and grow so much more quickly than I did. It keeps me on my toes.
What makes a day successful?
When I successfully balance both the short-term demands of being a CEO, like daily meetings, but also make progress on longer-term issues like making Deutsche Bank a better and more diverse place to work and engaging directly with our employees…followed by a Very Berry pie for dinner!
Words to live by?
“Noblesse Oblige” or in the modern lexicon “nobility obliges”. Seniority is a solemn responsibility. The CEO serves their staff, not the other way around.
The CEO serves their staff, not the other way around.