Credit Suisse Lowers Ex-CEO Thiam's Bonus -- WSJ

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03/26/2020 | 07:47 am
Tidjane Thiam

By Margot Patrick

Credit Suisse Group AG on Wednesday said it docked around 2.2 million Swiss francs ($2.24 million) from former chief executive Tidjane Thiam's 2019 bonus because of the "significant impact" of last year's spying scandal on the bank's reputation.

Mr. Thiam was granted 10.7 million francs in salary, bonus and share awards in 2019, down from 12.6 million francs the year before, the bank said. His bonus of 7.2 million francs, some of which is paid out over time and whose value can fluctuate, could have been at least 2.2 million francs higher according to a compensation report by the bank Wednesday.

Pierre-Olivier Bouée, the bank's former chief operating officer who Credit Suisse said was responsible for the surveillance of two executives, lost shares worth around 4 million francs after being fired in December, according to the report.

Credit Suisse made international headlines and its culture and governance came under a spotlight after the bank's former international wealth management head, Iqbal Khan, spotted and confronted an investigator following him in the streets of Zurich in September. The bank hired a law firm to review the surveillance, and found Mr. Bouée had ordered it over fears Mr. Khan could take staff or clients to his new employer, UBS Group AG. Mr. Bouée resigned and initially kept earlier share awards, but was fired in December when the bank found he had another top executive followed earlier in 2019 but didn't disclose it during the Khan investigation.

The bank said there is no evidence Mr. Thiam knew about either surveillance, and Mr. Thiam has denied any knowledge. After being forced to resign in February because of the fallout, Mr. Thiam said he was leaving with a clear conscience.

Kai Nargolwala, chair of Credit Suisse's compensation committee, said the board doesn't believe the events had any lasting impact on shareholder value or client relationships, but "the level of media scrutiny and the potential damage to our reputation was concerning."

"Mr. Thiam has taken accountability for the events" and accepted the bonus reduction, Mr. Nargolwala said.

In the report Wednesday, Mr. Nargolwala said independent investigations confirmed that the events only involved "certain isolated individuals," and indicated that Mr. Bouée's departure was because he was "less than forthcoming" with investigators. Mr. Bouée hasn't commented on the matter.

On Wednesday, Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner confirmed he will leave next year. In a letter to shareholders for the bank's annual meeting in April, he said he wouldn't stand for re-election at the 2021 meeting and that the process to find his successor "is well under way."

Write to Margot Patrick at


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