Business Abroad: A Man of Marks

Shortly after the death of Pope Pius XI, according to a legend beloved of German businessmen, a pair of international financiers were discussing possible successors to the papacy. "Well," began one of them thoughtfully, "what about Hermann Abs?"

Apocryphal as it is, the story is a fair indication of the awe commanded in U.S. and European financial circles by mustachioed Hermann J. Abs, 60, the suave chief executive of West Germany's Deutsche Bank. Unhampered by the kind of legislation that restricts the scope of U.S. banks. West German banks combine the functions exercised in the U.S. by investment banking houses, commercial...

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