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Banking Brady Dougan to leave Credit Suisse

Dougan was one of the best-paid bankers in the world with an annual salary topping CHF 90 million five years ago

(Keystone)

Credit Suisse boss Brady Dougan is set to leave the Swiss bank at the end of June 2015 after eight years at the helm. He will be replaced by Prudential head Tidjane Thiam.

In a statementexternal link Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner thanked Dougan for his “exceptional commitment, unparalleled personal contribution and leadership”.

“Brady has significantly and successfully shaped our company; he has kept our bank on track in recent years despite a complex environment and considerable headwinds in the global financial services industry. Brady and his management team have mastered even the most difficult challenges together,” he said.

The American will be replaced in June by Thiam, who Rohner describes as "a strong and distinguished leader with an impressive track record”.

Thiam, 52, a former Ivory Coast government minister who has led British insurer Prudential since 2009, will become one of the few top insurance executives to transition into banking when he takes charge of Zurich-based Credit Suisse, a global lender reeling from US penalties and under increasing regulatory scrutiny.

Credit Suisse shares were up 7.5% on the news, trading at CHF24.90 per share in midday trading in Switzerland.

Dougan, 55, is one of only three global bank CEOs still in his job following the global financial crisis, alongside JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs.

But he has faced pressure to quit since last year when Credit Suisse reached a $2.5 billion (CHF2.47 billion) settlement with US authorities for helping Americans evade taxes via secret bank accounts.

Although the Swiss bank's board backed the American chief executive over the deal, under which Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to criminal charges but held onto its New York licence and its legally protected client data, he was criticised by some politicians and media in Switzerland.

The bank last month amended its fourth quarter 2014 earnings release to reflect an additional CHF230 million ($230 million) in charges for litigation and investigations in the United States related to mortgages.

Legacy

Dougan, an Illinois native who has been at Credit Suisse for a quarter of a century and became CEO in 2007, has also been criticised for sticking with an investment banking strategy.

Swiss rival UBS made a high-profile withdrawal from the business, regarded by many in Switzerland as too risky following the financial crisis.

Recent troubles aside, Dougan generally has been a well-regarded outsider in the Swiss banking community.

He won plaudits from investors for steering Switzerland's second-largest bank through the post-Lehman Brothers turmoil, cutting riskier trading activities and avoiding getting entangled in U.S. subprime mortgages to the same degree as UBS, which took a state bailout in 2008.

Dougan has been one of the best-paid bankers in the world with an annual salary topping CHF90 million five years ago. But he recently saw a pay cut as part of cost-cutting measures taken by the bank to tackle the surge in the Swiss franc.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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