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Credit Suisse CEO quits following spying scandal

By Ramla Soni

Tidjane Thiam is to be replaced by the head of the bank's Swiss business, Thomas Gottstein

Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam

Chief executive of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, has quit after a struggle at Switzerland’s second-biggest bank over investor pressure from a spying scandal being investigated by Swiss authorities.

The Zurich-based bank said that Thiam would be replaced by the head of its Swiss business, Thomas Gottstein.

The spying scandal is said to have increased tensions between Thiam and Chairman Urs Rohner. Although several major shareholders pledged their support for Thiam this week, he struggled to win the backing of the board.

Credit Suisse’s board said that Rohner had its backing to complete his term until April 2021.

Thiam became CEO in 2015 where he focused on cutting costs, reducing risk, scaling back investment banking to focus more on wealth management and strengthening its balance sheet.

Credit Suisse has been in a crisis since September, when its former star wealth manager Iqbal Khan, after moving to UBS, confronted a private detective following him and his wife through Zurich.

What the bank initially described as a spying case run by then-Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee widened, as details emerged of additional instances of surveillance.

Swiss financial watchdog FINMA is conducting its own investigation after the bank subsequently acknowledged that it had tailed former human resources head Peter Goerke.

FINMA is also examining the board’s oversight of Thiam and his top colleagues and whether management control failures led to Credit Suisse prying on its former executives.

Thiam has claimed he knows nothing about the surveillance.

Credit Suisse shares were down 4.5 per cent early this morning.

FURTHER READING: Credit Suisse plans new $1bn share buyback programme

FURTHER READING: Citi, Credit Suisse drop out of Ucommune IPO – report

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