Credit Suisse has shown its CEO the door following revelations of high-level espionage at the Swiss bank.
Tidjane Thiam joined Credit Suisse in 2015 after an illustrious career that saw him revitalise the economy of Côte d’Ivoire with an extensive privatisation program and serve as a chief executive of Aviva and CEO of British banking group Prudential.
But his time at Credit Suisse has come to an ignominious end following revelations that the bank had hired a private detective to spy on Iqbal Khan, the former head of Wealth Management, after he moved to rival UBS. The former head of human resources, Peter Goerke, had also been tailed. Both incidents were laid at the feet of Pierre-Olivier Bouée, a member of the executive board.
“The observation of Peter Goerke, which has now been confirmed, is inexcusable,” the board of directors said in a statement at the time.
“It is of grave concern that the responsible individuals failed to answer truthfully about this observation during the external investigation in September 2019. We are aware that the observations of Iqbal Khan and Peter Goerke have damaged the reputation of our bank.”
But although an internal investigation cleared Mr Thiam of wrongdoing, he made the decision to step down on 7 February, with chairman Urs Rohner telling Swiss radio “We realised that we couldn’t get out of this situation unless we made a change and Tidjane Thiam understood that too”.
The resignation caps off an affair that has already cost the bank one executive and drawn the ire of regulator FINMA. Mr Thiam has tried to put a positive spin on the resignation, saying that he will be “an enthusiastic supporter” of his colleagues.
“I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues,” Mr Thiam said.
“It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”
Mr Thiam will leave on 14 February and be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, the head of the bank’s Swiss business.