Credit Suisse removes bonus from ex-boss Tidjane Thiam after spy scandal

Credit Suisse cut the premium of its former managing director Tidjane Thiam for his role in a corporate espionage scandal that damaged the reputation of the Swiss lender.

Mr. Thiam’s so-called “short-term incentive” bonus for 2019 has been reduced by a third to 3.3 million francs (3.4 million francs) from 4.9 million francs, according to the report annual bank Wednesday. Overall, he received 10.2 million Swiss francs last year, down 17% from 12.3 million Swiss francs in 2018, and lost all of his 2020 long-term incentive rewards.

Kai Nargolwala, chairman of the board’s compensation committee, said in the report that Mr. Thiam “has set an example in terms of personal commitment to the standards of conduct and ethics of the group” but that his “non-financial evaluation score was reduced” because “the observation of the case had a significant impact”.

Yet after being granted “good leaver” status when he left last month, Thiam was allowed to keep his 1.4 million shares valued at around 19 million Swiss francs at the end of 2019. This year, Credit Suisse shares have since fallen 41%, leaving them worth significantly less.

Mr Thiam was ousted after losing a deadly board battle with bank chairman Urs Rohner. His departure follows months of damaging revelations linked to two instances of intrusive surveillance carried out against outgoing senior executives, including wealth management boss Iqbal Khan, who has left for rival UBS.

Credit Suisse reiterated that it had found no evidence that Mr Thiam was directly involved in the compliance order. Swiss regulator Finma is investigating the case and interviewing those involved and reviewing their phone records and emails, according to people familiar with the matter.

Next month, the 57-year-old Franco-Ivorian is expected to join the board of directors of French luxury group Kering, which is owned by the billionaire Pinault family and includes brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.

Pierre-Olivier Bouée, Mr Thiam’s longtime lieutenant and former COO of Credit Suisse, lost his entire salary of 2 million Swiss francs and deferred compensation after being fired for admitting to personally ordering the ‘spying.

Mr. Thiam is credited with repositioning Credit Suisse away from volatile trading and expanding its wealth management division. On his last day in charge last month, he announced that the bank’s pre-tax profit jumped 40% in 2019 to 4.7 billion Swiss francs, the highest level since 2010.

The board collectively earned around 77 million Swiss francs last year, down 17% from 2018, according to the report. Overall, the banking group’s bonus pool was reduced by 1% to 3.2 billion Swiss francs, confirming a Financial Times report in early February.

New Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein will be paid a base salary of 2.7 million Swiss francs – 300,000 Swiss francs less than his predecessor – and his bonus multipliers are lower, which means he will earn initially about 15% less.

The board decided this because Mr. Gottstein is a novice CEO who has yet to prove he can run a global company, unlike Mr. Thiam, who joined after a largely successful period at the company. Prudential insurer, according to a person familiar with the decision.

About Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

Check Also

Former chief of China’s top state lender Xiaomin executed for corruption

Lai Xiaomin, the former head of China’s largest state-owned asset management company, was executed on …