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Tidjane Thiam steps down as Credit Suisse boss amid spying scandal

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Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam is stepping down amid revelations that the Swiss bank spied on two former executives, the company said Friday.

Thiam, who joined the bank in 2015, will resign Feb. 14 and be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, the current CEO of Credit Suisse’s Swiss operations, the bank said.

The shakeup comes amid a spying scandal that has roiled Switzerland’s second-biggest bank. Credit Suisse has accused former chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee of orchestrating the snooping operation that targeted a pair of former honchos.

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Thiam, 57, maintained Friday that he had “no knowledge” of the scheme, echoing the bank’s previous findings that there was no indication he was involved.

“It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt,” Thiam said in a statement. “I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”

Credit Suisse’s US-listed shares dropped 2.6 percent on news of Thiam’s departure to $12.76 in premarket trading as of 7:08 a.m.

Thiam’s exit reportedly follows an internal battle between the CEO and Urs Rohner, the chairman of Credit Suisse’s board of directors. The board backed Rohner Friday to complete his term and stay at the helm until April 2021, according to a news release.

Bouee resigned in October after Credit Suisse found he directed a spying operation against former wealth management boss Iqbal Khan, who left the bank to join its rival UBS. Credit Suisse then admitted in December that Bouee also ordered surveillance former human-resources boss Peter Goerke in February 2019. Switzerland’s financial supervisor is conducting its own probe of the spying scandal.

Born in Ivory Coast and educated at France’s elite Ecole Polytechnique university, Thiam became Credit Suisse’s first African-born chief executive when he joined the bank after serving as CEO of the British life insurance company Prudential. He was among the roughly two dozen business leaders who dined with President Trump at last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Thiam said he was proud of turning the bank around during his tenure. He specifically touted the growth to its wealth management arm and the reinvigoration of its global markets business.

“It is to his credit that Credit Suisse is standing on a very solid foundation and has returned successfully to profit,” Rohner said in a statement.

New York Post

Vanguard News

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