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Credit Suisse: Re-org, re-model

It’s easier to reach your destination if you know where you’re going.

David Mathers, CFO of Credit Suisse

It could – perhaps should – have been a far tougher year for Credit Suisse. The Swiss lender lost its chief executive when Tidjane Thiam resigned in the first week of February, just before Covid-19 made landfall in Europe.

Most banks would have reeled from the news. Yet Credit Suisse shook off the dust, found a replacement – Thomas Gottstein, a 20-year veteran of the bank – and soldiered on through lockdown and beyond.

Covid stopped Gottstein from globetrotting and meeting staff and investors. At home, with the crisis in full swing and Swiss corporates struggling for their financial lives, he reached out to regulators, the Swiss National Bank and then to the likes of UBS.

The result was a coordinated SFr20 billion ($21.9 billion) package for small businesses, three quarters of which was disbursed within a week of its launch on March 25, startling even the usually unflappable Swiss by its speed.


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