The Strategist

Tidjane Thiam Quits Prudential For Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse

03/11/2015 - 17:58

CEO of Prudential, UK’s biggest saving and investment group will take top job at Credit Suisse

CEO Tidjane Thiam’s resignation from Prudential is a move towards taking the top job at insurance giant, Credit Suisse. An Ivorian who completed his studies from Paris, joined Prudenial in 2007 and within just 2 years succeeded Mark Tucker as a CEO. The announcement of his departure was made at the time when Prudential’s Asian business recorded robust growth in its profits. Mr. Thiam who served as Prudential’s CEO for almost 6 years has less banking experience but has proved himself as a remarkable leader for Prudential.

Mr. Thiam survived the period of fear at Prudential when he failed to acquire AIA, an Asian insurer in 2010 and this failure angered the shareholders to such an extent that they called for his departure. He had to apologise for missing the acquisition that would have led to the largest overseas takeover by Prudential. It was because of his charisma that he survived the most difficult situation for any CEO which failed in the execution of multi billion pound deal. However, the company’s business and profits have increased by more than twice in Asia since 2010. Under his leadership, the company’s share prices have hiked from £6 per share to more than £16 today. Prudential’s strategy is well established with the objective to target increasing middle classes in Asia, elderly population in the UK as well as Baby Boomers of the US whose requirement for pension needs are continuously rising. Mr. Thiam witnessed low point when he was jobless for a period of six months, but this tough period defined enthusiastic attitude in the world of insurance.

After the completion of regulatory process, Prudential will announce about the new CEO. However, it is anticipated that Mike Wells who is the head of company’s American operations is chosen to replace Mr. Thiam, though the company has not made any confirmation on this.

Tidjane Thiam has taken a challenging job to lead Credit Suisse at the time when the company is witnessing US penalties and regulatory scrutiny. Mr. Thiam will be replacing Brady Dougan, present CEO of Credit Suisse in the later part of the year. His tenure of 8 years as the top man includes the period of financial crisis when the bank’s reputation was damaged due to scandals related to mortgage backed securities as well as tax avoidance. Since last year, Swiss bank CEO Brady Dougan has been facing calls to resign when Credit Suisse entered into a settlement of $2.5billion with the US for assisting Americans to evade taxes through secret bank accounts. He is leaving the bank at the time when he was amongst one of the highest paid bankers in the world, with a salary of 90 million Swiss francs ($91 million) in one year. The departure of Dougan leaves only 2 global banking CEO’s in their place since 2008 financial turmoil, which includes Jamie Dimon in JP Morgan and Lloyd Blankfein in Goldman Sachs.