‘A Swiss should run Credit Suisse’ ex-CS head tells newspaper

File photo of former Credit Suisse (and UBS) CEO Oswald Grübel, who's German, by the way Keystone / Walter Bieri

In an interview with the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, former Credit Suisse CEO Oswald Grübel has criticized the large Swiss bank for its handling of the current crisis.

This content was published on October 6, 2019 - 13:14

By maintaining that CEO Tidjane Thiam was unaware of the spying affair, the bank is harming the Swiss financial sector, Grübel said in an interview published on Sunday. Foreign media are bursting with schadenfreude, and in business, where it's all about competence, there's nothing worse than looking ridiculous, continued the manager.

+ The Credit Suisse spying scandal, explained

Grübel also insisted that the major Swiss bank should be run by a Swiss citizen in the future, even if it is helpful to have international employees with global experience.

"But Swiss banks are less global today than they were," said Grübel, who is from Germany and led CS from 2003-2007 before heading Swiss bank UBS from 2009-2011. Current CS CEO Thiam is French-Ivorian and took on the role in 2015.

Employee monitoring

According to a report in the newspaper SonntagsBlick on Sunday, the monitoring of bank employees is already very extensive. For example, Credit Suisse uses software from the US company Palantir to monitor its employees and meticulously record their activity. Palantir scans all e-mails sent by employees, which helps to identify at-risk employees at an early stage.

Data protection experts told the newspaper that banks were already making extensive use of the means available to monitor staff. However, this is a delicate procedure if the sole purpose is to monitor performance and to check that employees are complying with their contracts. 

Le Matin Dimanche also quotes legal scholars of the same opinion. For example, a lawyer explained that spying on an employee using private detectives was prohibited in Switzerland.

With regard to the surveillance of employees, Credit Suisse told SonntagsBlick that the technology solutions of Palantir, for example, were used to ward off financial crime.

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