Credit Suisse CEO Thiam Ousted After Losing Boardroom Battle

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Spying scandal Credit Suisse
Tidjane Thiam, the former Credit Suisse CEO, was forced from his position in a boardroom battle considered to be racist by some of the bank’s large clients. Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse, attends a panel about Global Markets in a Fractured World during the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Tidjane Thiam, the former Credit Suisse Group AG chief executive officer, was ousted from his position after he lost a gruelling boardroom battle and has been called a victim of racism by some of the bank’s large clients.

Thiam’s departure caused more shockwaves outside of Switzerland than within, where the insiders who needed him to fix the lender’s reputation and loss-making ways were ruthless in expelling him now that the job was done.

“I believe that there were a lot of articles fed to the Swiss-German press to make tensions rise and the situation untenable,” said an executive at one of Credit Suisse’s biggest clients. “It’s like a parochial town rejecting a foreign body.”

The Credit Suisse board accepted his resignation last week with the insinuation that they had pushed him to resign after a damaging scandal rocked the bank in 2019.

A story of spying, deceit, and suicide comparable to a Big Lebowski-esque spy scandal rocked the Swiss banking world and Credit Suisse was right in the middle of it.

Its CEO Thiam, a non-banker and dual citizen of France and Ivory Coast, is now seen as a victim rather than a villain in the whole debacle.

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He was selected to head Credit Suisse in 2015 when the Swiss bank was facing increased regulatory scrutiny for helping Americans evade taxes via secret bank accounts.

The bank reached a $2.5 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over the matter. Thiam managed to lift the bank’s fortunes, turning a profit and proving critics wrong after initial doubts over his appointment.