Ivorian Tidjane Thiam To Become Credit Suisse New CEO

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Credit Suisse, a Zurich-based global lender that has come under increased regulatory scrutiny in recent months, has appointed Ivory Coast born and top UK’s insurer Prudential chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, to replace outgoing CEO Brady Dougan.

Dougan, an American who worked for Credit Suisse for a quarter a century, came under heavy criticism  last year when Credit Suisse reached a $2.5 billion settlement with US authorities for helping Americans evade taxes via secret bank accounts.

Thiam, a former Ivory Coast government minister who has led Prudential since 2009, will head that Swiss bank from June 2015, becoming one of the few top insurance executives to transition into banking.

The mathematician was a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Co, before he became the first black CEO of a FTSE 100 company when he moved to the top job at Prudential from insurer Aviva.

He’s “one of the most exceptional leaders in Prudential’s long and illustrious history,” Paul Manduca, Prudential chairman, described Thiam.

“Although the board will be sorry to see him go, we understand his desire to take on a new challenge with another global leader in a different part of the financial services sector.”

In reaction to the Thiam’s appointment Credit Suisse share jumped 7.5 percent in morning trade. Prudential’s shares however slumped 3 percent, despite the insurance giant reporting a 14 percent rise in operating profit in 2014.

“With Tidjane Thiam, a strong and distinguished leader with an impressive track record in the global financial services industry will take the helm of our bank,” Urs Rohner Credit Suisse Chairman said.

In an interview with CBNC Thiam, who holds a dual Ivorian and French citizenship, said There are “huge opportunities” for Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse, with potential growth in emerging markets.