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Old 10.03.2015, 23:37
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Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

Sometimes important events take place but no one notice really immediately. It's only later that we measure the importance of their impact. To me this event is the appointment of Tidjane Thiam as CEO of Credit-Suisse. Why is this so surprising?
Well let's state his singularities: he is black, from Ivory Coast, muslim and francophone.....who has been appointed CEO of a large global swiss bank after a successful career in the City leading the british insurance company Prudential.

His story holds all the feature of a modern tale. He was born in Ivory Coast in 1962 in a wealthy family that fought colonialism after fighting nazism within the french colonial army during WWII. After brilliant studies in the most elitist universities in France, he was recruited by major consulting companies. After several years his career was not progressing in France corporate environment. One of his friends and headhunter told him clearly: "I will stop sending your CV to my customers; they all say you are brilliant and impressive but ..." The ellipsis was about the "glass ceiling" he was hitting because of his origin and skin. That's when he was recruited by a british headhunter for an insurance company in the UK. He was so surprised that he immediately told the headhunter over the phone:"you need to know: I am black, 1m93 tall and my english is not so good". He led for several years successfully Prudential Ltd in the City. He joked that his biggest handicap in London was not his skin color but his french accent.

So today a major swiss bank appointed him after a successful career in the City while France never gave him the opportunity after giving him the high quality education.

I can only say: Chapeau bas Messieurs les suisses et les anglais!*

* So hats off to swiss and british gentlemen
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Old 11.03.2015, 00:43
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Sometimes important events take place but no one notice really immediately. It's only later that we measure the importance of their impact. To me this event is the appointment of Tidjane Thiam as CEO of Credit-Suisse. Why is this so surprising?
Well let's state his singularities: he is black, from Ivory Coast, muslim and francophone.....who has been appointed CEO of a large global swiss bank after a successful career in the City leading the british insurance company Prudential.

His story holds all the feature of a modern tale. He was born in Ivory Coast in 1962 in a wealthy family that fought colonialism after fighting nazism within the french colonial army during WWII. After brilliant studies in the most elitist universities in France, he was recruited by major consulting companies. After several years his career was not progressing in France corporate environment. One of his friends and headhunter told him clearly: "I will stop sending your CV to my customers; they all say you are brilliant and impressive but ..." The ellipsis was about the "glass ceiling" he was hitting because of his origin and skin. That's when he was recruited by a british headhunter for an insurance company in the UK. He was so surprised that he immediately told the headhunter over the phone:"you need to know: I am black, 1m93 tall and my english is not so good". He led for several years successfully Prudential Ltd in the City. He joked that his biggest handicap in London was not his skin color but his french accent.

So today a major swiss bank appointed him after a successful career in the City while France never gave him the opportunity after giving him the high quality education.

I can only say: Chapeau bas Messieurs les suisses et les anglais!*

* So hats off to swiss and british gentlemen

An excellent matter. A real top man takes over CS, and that he is a black makes things really interesting. The man speaks French, English and German, was in politics, in insurance and in finance, a tremendous combination. That he is 1 mtr 93 cms tall may be irrelevant but is impressive. While Mr Rohner, the CS chairman, looks really happy, outgoing Mr Dougan does not.
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Old 11.03.2015, 07:26
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

...and unlike Dougan he has his own hair.

Last edited by AbFab; 11.03.2015 at 09:07.
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Old 11.03.2015, 08:03
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

That is an encouraging sign that CS is sober. Doesn't it signal a direction towards more conservative asset management and less risky investment banking?
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Old 11.03.2015, 10:29
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

It shouldn't be the colour of someone's skin that is the focus of news about any CEO's appointment.

More interesting is that he comes from outside the banking sector in contrast to the lifer he will replace.

In 2009, Thiam made a disastrous attempt to buy AIA. It was vetoed by Pru's shareholders who said the price was too high.

Some CEO's careers would not have survived that.

He is a good choice for Credit Suisse. I imagine their strategy will be continuing to shrink investment banking and expanding business in Asia.
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Old 11.03.2015, 11:40
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

I assume he has French citizenship by now. Or did I miss all the CEO job ads by Credit Suisse in order to meet the immigration criteria for 3rd country nationals that no Swiss or EU citizen is capable of doing the job ?
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Old 13.04.2015, 18:20
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

At a time when the Swiss body-politic is trying to come to grips with an economically self defeating immigration quota system, championed by an overzealous far right party, they parachute in a renowned African technocrat in Tidjane Thiam, an Ivorian, to revive the fortunes of the country's (including world's) oldest and biggest bank, Credit Suisse. We live in a big global village after all!
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Old 13.04.2015, 23:52
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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At a time when the Swiss body-politic is trying to come to grips with an economically self defeating immigration quota system, championed by an overzealous far right party, they parachute in a renowned African technocrat in Tidjane Thiam, an Ivorian, to revive the fortunes of the country's (including world's) oldest and biggest bank, Credit Suisse. We live in a big global village after all!
not the world's oldest bank, not by a long stretch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...uous_operation

As for Thiam, let's wait until the next round of bonuses are announced and I'm sure the euphoria will melt away as people see he's no more a messiah than any of his predecessors.
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Old 22.10.2015, 09:24
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

Barely 6 months into the job and over 5000 jobs about to get axed. Mainly in London and Switzerland.
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Old 22.10.2015, 10:58
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Barely 6 months into the job and over 5000 jobs about to get axed. Mainly in London and Switzerland.
Fair to say the guy doesn't want to run a charity...
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Old 22.10.2015, 11:01
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Fair to say the guy doesn't want to run a charity...
Not a charity. But those who saw in him a Swiss Obama may have to rethink ... or not.
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Old 22.10.2015, 11:02
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Barely 6 months into the job and over 5000 jobs about to get axed. Mainly in London and Switzerland.
Approximately 2000 in the US, 2000 in London and 1600 in Switzerland. Some of the US jobs may get moved to Wells Fargo but the UK/CH jobs will be attrition with roles being replaced in lower-cost location (no longer low-cost).

Nothing says "We want to be the #1 bank in our home country" than cutting 1600 jobs and pissing off half the populaion!!
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Old 22.10.2015, 11:10
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

So: what would you guys do in his shoes? He is not axing "some jobs" but especially in London the backend jobs.

Honestly: If I was responsible for a global MNC would I also move the non-customer facing jobs out of London and Zurich. Not necessarily to India as they now plan... but at least out of the most expensive cities. No need that the IT department sits at canary wharf. That does not just cost a lot in salaries, but also rent and what not.

Some near sourcing to Eastern Europe would probably be my choice.
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Old 22.10.2015, 16:10
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Barely 6 months into the job and over 5000 jobs about to get axed. Mainly in London and Switzerland.
Can I borrow your crystal ball for a couple of days?
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