On Friday, the bank’s board announced that it “unanimously accepted” Thiam’s resignation, who came in a direct battle with the president Urs Rohner. “I agreed with the board that I will step down as CEO. I am proud of what the team achieved during my tenure. We changed Credit Suisse, ”said the executive, in a note. Thiam is expected to officially leave the bank in a week on the 14th.
The board ended up pending to shut down the CEO, despite pressure from British and American investors, who wanted Rohner to leave, not the executive. Costa do Marfim, which in recent years has become a star in the financial world.
Interestingly, Thiam arrived at Credit Suisse at the hands of the current chairman of the board to replace the American Brady Dougan. He was recruited four years ago when he worked for the British insurance company Prudential and its mission was to completely reform the bank. Their relationship, however, ended up being broken because of a spying scandal that surfaced last year.
The bank hired a corporate espionage firm to follow the then wealth management director, Iqbal Khan, named as a possible successor to Thiam. He, however, discovered that he was being watched and the two executives even went on to have a public confrontation in the center of Zurich, which was widely reported at the time. At the beginning of the episode, Rohner supported Thiam in public, but after a string of layoffs from other executives, the relationship began to shake.
In the statement, Thiam argued that he was unaware of surveillance over his two former colleagues – last month, Credit Suisse had announced that a second former executive at the company had been spied on by the chief operating officer, who was dismissed from the company. “This undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I am sorry that this happened and should never have happened ”, he emphasized.
Several investors, including majority majority Harris Associates, had publicly defended the bank’s president since the espionage story went public and warned of the risk of a potential removal from Thiam, including pointing to the existence of a Swiss conspiracy within the institution by officials who would be opposed to the reforms being carried out by its top executive.
Earlier this week, New York hedge fund Eminence Capital, which owns about 2% of the shares, threatened to go to court against Credit Suisse’s advice in the event that Thiam was removed. The bank’s chief independent director, Severin Schwan, supported Rohner. “Urs Rohner led the council commendably during this turbulent period. After careful deliberations, the board was unanimous in its actions, as well as reaffirming its full support for the president to complete his term by April 2021, ”he said in a statement.