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09 February 2020

Credit Suisse dismisses Tidjane Thiam in board’s damage-control bid

Credit Suisse is turning to Thomas Gottstein, a two-decade Credit Suisse veteran who heads the Swiss business, to restore investor confidence after the shock departure

Tidjane Thiam, the former Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse Group

by Bloomberg

Credit Suisse Group has ousted Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, a move that the bank’s Chairman called an attempt to fix its reputation after a damaging spying scandal.

Urs Rohner, the Chairman of Credit Suisse Group, said, “We saw a deterioration in terms of trust, reputation and credibility among all our stakeholders.”

Rohner added that the bank’s reputation was particularly damaged in Switzerland, which accounts for about 40 per cent of the bank’s pre-tax income after he rejected calls from major US and UK shareholders to back Thiam.

Gottstein is the first Swiss-born CEO of the bank in almost two decades and takes on the dual challenge of putting a stop to the infighting and boosting a share price that lost almost half its value during Thiam’s tenure.

Thiam’s exit marks the culmination of a conflict with Rohner that escalated over the CEO’s dispute with former international wealth management head Iqbal Khan. After Khan said he was quitting to join crosstown rival UBS Group, one of the Thiam’s top deputies hired detectives to follow him—a tactic that sparked an international scandal when it became public.

Gottstein is CEO of Credit Suisse Switzerland and has been in the banking industry for 30 years, including more than 20 at Credit Suisse. His experience includes 13 years in investment banking in London, as well as in private banking. The unit, known as the Swiss Universal Bank, is a subsidiary of Credit Suisse focused on the domestic market. Swiss Universal Bank is the biggest contributor to pre-tax profit and includes a private banking arm as well as investment banking.

The new CEO also sits on the board of Finma, the Swiss regulator. In December 2019, Finma said that it had appointed an independent auditor to investigate the case and that such probes typically take several months.

RELATED STORIES: Credit Suisse Tidjane Thiam Thomas Gottstein Iqbal Khan





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