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Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam quits after spying scandal



The chief executive of Credit Suisse has stepped down following a spying scandal.

The Zurich-based bank said it had accepted Tidjane Thiam’s resignation, amid a growing controversy over an illicit surveillance operation.

However, the board of Switzerland’s second-biggest bank has given its backing to its embattled chairman Urs Rohner, who had also been under pressure to go.

Iqbal Khan (c) was in charge of attracting wealthy clients to Credit Suisse

Iqbal Khan (centre), who switched to rival UBS, confronted a private detective who tailed him

The crisis began in September when Iqbal Khan, a leading wealth manager who had switched from Credit Suisse to rival UBS, confronted a private detective following him and his wife through Zurich.

The bank initially said it was a rogue case overseen by then chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, but the scandal grew as details emerged of further instances of spying.

Swiss financial supervisor FINMA is carrying out its own investigation after the bank subsequently acknowledged it had tailed former human resources head Peter Goerke.

In a statement, Mr Thiam said: “I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues.

“It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”

Credit Suisse is Switzerland's second biggest bank

Switzerland’s second-biggest bank has been rocked by the spying scandal
He will be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, the head of the bank’s Swiss business.

Mr Rohner said: “Based on his deep and comprehensive experience in our business and in view of his impressive performance as head of our Swiss bank and his respect amongst our clients and employees, Thomas Gottstein is excellently positioned to lead Credit Suisse into the future.”

Urs Rohner, the Credit Suisse chairman, said the decision to allow the surveillance was wrong and could not be tolerated. Pic: CS

Urs Rohner will see out his term as chairman after securing the board’s backing. Pic: Credit Suisse
Mr Rohner, who himself had faced calls by the Swiss investment adviser Ethos Foundation to quit, will see out his term that ends in April 2021, after securing the support of top management.

Board member Severin Schwan said: “Urs Rohner has led the board of directors commendably during this turbulent time.”

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