Alasdair Warren, the head of Deutsche Bank’s corporate and investment bank in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has a big job reviving the fortunes of the German giant, but he still has time for a side hustle – running an art deco cinema and theatre in a small town in the West Country, UK.
Warren has been director of the Electric Palace in Bridport, Dorset for the best part of three years, filings on Companies House show. In a sense, Warren has been the knight in shining armour for a major historical landmark in the town, which was put up for sale for £550k in August 2014.
In 2013, the struggling venue was seeking funds from the community in order to fund a £20k new sound system and £5.5k lights. Its previous owners Peter Hitchin and his daughter Gabrielle Rabbitts were reportedly working unpaid. At the time of the venue’s 2014 sale, Hitchen told the BBC: “It is a lifestyle business and I am in no hurry to sell it. I am looking for the right person."
Warren’s new tenure has necessitated some investment. The building is listed, but required a new roof in 2015, while the restoration of the cinema includes a new sound system, structural changes to the building and a redecoration to enhance its much vaunted art deco features.
Electric Palace’s patrons include Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and film director Mike Leigh. It has historically attracted some big names in comedy and music including Al Murray and PJ Harvey. This month it will host Bridport’s first ever folk festival.
Running the venue seems like a labour of love for Warren. Its latest accounts to for the year to January 2016 show that the Electric Palace posted a loss of £336k.
Warren is a big name investment banker who was appointed Deutsche Bank’s new head of CIB for EMEA in November 2015. He joined from Goldman Sachs, where he was a partner and global co-head of its financial sponsors group.
After a series of strategy changes at the investment bank over the past two years, Warren has a task both reviving the fortunes of Deutsche Bank in Europe and maintaining staff morale after job cuts and disappointing bonus payments.
He told Handelsblatt last year that he wanted Deutsche Bank to become the top bank in Europe for corporate and investment banking again. Figures from Dealogic show that Deutsche was ranked third for investment banking revenues in EMEA last year, the same spot as in 2015, behind J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. In the first half of 2017, Deutsche was ranked 5th in the European investment banking revenue league tables, down from third in the first six months of 2016.