Credit Suisse CEO Passes On Run For President In Ivory Coast Election

Written by Ann Brown

The incumbent president of the Ivory Coast has announced he will not be running again for office in 2020, leaving the field open for many hopefuls.

President Alassane Ouattara has been president for two terms — 2010 to 2015 and 2015 to 2020. Many are encouraging Credit Suisse CEO, Tidjane Thiam, to get back into politics.

The Swiss bank boss, an Ivory Coast native, served as a cabinet minister in the West African nation in the 1990s. He has been credited with turning around a struggling Credit Suisse.

“Having spent three years at the helm of Credit Suisse, my task is not yet completed and I have every intention of continuing with it,” Thiam said in a statement.

“The strategy that we have designed for Credit Suisse and are executing with discipline is delivering good results. I therefore intend to remain in post as CEO of Credit Suisse and to oversee the development of our activities following this period of deep restructuring.”

Thiam, who became CEO of Credit Suisse in 2015, spent more than a decade in the insurance sector.

“Thiam spent his early career at the consulting giant McKinsey before returning to Africa in 1994 to take charge of infrastructure projects in the Ivory Coast. Following a military coup in the country five years later, Thiam moved to the private sector in Europe,” the Financial Times reported.

Since taking over at Credit Suisse, Thiam has changed the way the bank works. In the process, he has been credited with reviving the institution that was founded 162 years ago in 1856. Thiam was appointed CEO in March 2015 to succeed Brady Dougan.

While he has succeeded at his role at Credit Suisse, Thiam says he’s not moving on yet. He said in his statement: “I have close ties to the Ivory Coast, where I was born, and to Africa. I spent six years working for the government of the Ivory Coast and I have made many contributions to the development of the country.”

Thiam added: “I am both humbled and honored by the encouragement and support I have been shown recently by many of my fellow Ivorians and more generally by a large number of Africans. I am very touched by this and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them. However, I have said repeatedly for a number of years that I am determined not to get involved in politics.”

Credit Suisse
Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive for Prudential, United Kingdom, speaks during a session ‘Redesigning Financial Regulation’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday Jan. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)