Tidjane Thiam was the chief executive officer of Credit Suisse Group from March 2015 to February 2020. He resigned from the role on February 7, 2020 in the wake of a spying scandal. He succeeded Brady Dougan as CEO.
After joining Credit Suisse, Thiam oversaw a turnaround in which he shrank the trading arm of the investment bank and began repositioning the organisation as a wealth manager focused on ultra-rich entrepreneurs.
He was born in Ivory Coast and raised mostly in France, where he attended school. He returned to the Ivory Coast in his mid-30s, becoming the country's minister of planning. He was traveling abroad in 1999 when a military coup took place in Ivory Coast; when he returned there, he was put under house arrest. He was released a few weeks later and offered a job by the new military government, which he turned down.
Thiam began his career with the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., where he worked from 1986 to 1994 in Paris and London, serving insurance companies and banks. He returned to McKinsey after the Ivory Coast coup. In 2002, he joined the British insurer Aviva PLC, rising to head of European operations.
In 1998, he was selected as one of 100 “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum.
Credit Suisse Spying Scandal
Thiam was cleared in an investigation regarding spying on a former wealth management executive, Iqbal Khan by Credit Suisse in October 2019. The case involved surveillance of Khan, who left the bank in July 2019 to join rival bank UBS. Credit Suisse Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, Thiam's right-hand man, had ordered surveillance on Khan, according to the investigation. The investigation concluded that Thiam had no part in the surveillance. The investigation was an embarrassment for Credit Suisse and Bouee was forced to resign.
Thiam attended the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and then France’s INSEAD business school.
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