Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG promoted Brian Chin to chief executive officer of its global markets unit, putting him in charge of the securities business that blindsided CEO Tidjane Thiam with losses this year.

Chin was previously co-head of credit and will join the bank’s executive board, according to a statement from the Zurich-based firm. He replaces Timothy O’Hara, who is leaving the company, according to bank spokeswoman Nicole Sharp. The company also said that Eric Varvel, global head of asset management, is assuming the additional post of president and CEO of Credit Suisse Holdings (USA).

“Since joining the bank in 2003, Brian has been one of our strongest risk managers and has been an integral part in developing the strength of our global markets franchise,” Thiam said in the statement.

Thiam has announced two restructuring plans since taking over as CEO in July 2015, eliminating thousands of jobs and risky investments to shift away from securities trading. Still, losses on assets at the global markets unit have frustrated his efforts to focus on Asia and wealth management. The shares have slid 41 percent this year.

CEO’s Support

Less than a year ago, the CEO had defended the global markets business, which contains Credit Suisse’s trading activities outside of Switzerland and Asia-Pacific. But the firm’s traders had ramped up holdings of distressed debt and other illiquid positions without many senior leaders’ knowledge, helping lead to a first-quarter loss in the markets business.

“This wasn’t clear to me, it wasn’t clear to my CFO and to many people inside the bank” when the firm laid out a strategy last year, Thiam said during a Bloomberg Television interview in March. “There needs to be a cultural change because it’s completely unacceptable.”

Since then, Credit Suisse has reduced the global market unit’s inventory of collateralized loan obligations and pared its portfolio of distressed corporate bonds. It has also said it’s eliminating 1,000 jobs in the division. The global markets unit returned to a profit in the second quarter.

“I am especially thankful to Tim for steering global markets through its recent accelerated restructuring program, returning the division to profitability in Q2 and ensuring that some of the positive momentum of the division in Q2 has continued over the summer months,” Thiam said in the statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net, Zeke Faux in New York at zfaux@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net, Dan Reichl, Michael B. Marois

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