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As Tidjane Thiam leaves, Credit Suisse has much to be grateful for

The ouster of Tidjane Thiam has caused more shock outside Switzerland than within, where the insiders who needed him to fix Credit Suisse have been quite ruthless in expelling him now the job is done.


Credit Suisse's Tidjane Thiam and Urs Rohner

Yesterday evening the board of directors of Credit Suisse unanimously accepted the resignation of chief executive Tidjane Thiam. The official announcement does not make clear whether or not they were also unanimous in asking him to resign, though that is certainly the implication.

Lead independent director Severin Schwan says they were also unanimous in reaffirming support for chairman Urs Rohner to complete his term and stay on until April 2021.

The rumbling row over the hiring of private detectives last year to follow former head of International Wealth Management Iqbal Khan during his gardening leave after quitting for UBS had boiled down in the last week to this: would Rohner oust his chief executive or would the chairman himself have to stand down for daring to suggest such a course?

After all, Thiam was the outsider Rohner had turned to to save Credit Suisse after it had come through the financial crisis in good health but then drifted into paying its traders far too much to take on the wrong sorts of risks and becoming under-capitalized because this failed to generate retained earnings.

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