Credit Suisse boss tossed overboard

Credit Suisse Group has sacked its CEO, Tidjane Thiam, after his position became untenable.

Credit Suisse Group has ousted CEO Tidjane Thiam (pictured) in an attempt to “fix its reputation after a damaging spying scandal”, says Bloomberg. 

While an internal probe absolved Thiam of responsibility for spying on an ex-employee, further spying incidents have now come to light, rattling Swiss regulators. Thiam’s replacement is Thomas Gottstein, a two-decade Credit Suisse veteran.

The board had little choice but to fire Thiam, says Liam Proud on Breakingviews. His position was “untenable”, given the role of his “long-time associate and chief operating officer” in the scandal. Thiam’s claims that he knew nothing were “not reassuring. At worst, [they] were unconvincing”. Nevertheless, the board now needs to explain its choice of Gottstein. His CV “is light in some of Credit Suisse’s most important growth areas, like US investment banking and Asian private banking”.

Whatever the merits of Thiam’s dismissal, its hard to deny that he’s left Credit Suisse in a better position than when he took over, says The Economist. 

Despite having to deal with legal issues stemming from the financial crisis, he’s managed to repair the bank’s balance sheet as well as reduce operating costs by around one-sixth in the past three years. 

Most importantly, he’s shifted the bank away from “risky trading” towards “managing the wealth of the seriously rich”. As a result, assets under management at Credit Suisse have grown by CHF200bn to CHF1.5trn in the past five years. Overall, Gottstein “could do worse than follow his course”.

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