In 2019, former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam was accused by former employee Iqbal Khan of sending spies after him. Although Thiam maintained his innocence, the ensuing power struggle and scandal forced him to resign in February this year. His successor is Thomas Gottstein, a man with over 20 years of Credit Suisse experience and a well-regarded position in the wider banking community. Despite taking over during one of the worst periods for banking in generations, Gottstein has managed to weather the COVID storm to slowly begin to restore confidence in the bank’s somewhat battered reputation. Find out more with these ten things you didn’t know about Thomas Gottstein.
1. His appointment was a shoo-in
When Tidjane’s departure was announced in February this year, all eyes were immediately on Gottstein. Described as the ‘natural successor’ to the embattled former CEO, his appointment on February 14, 2020 was greeted with enthusiasm but little surprise. “When the noise about Tidjane’s departure started, the internal conversation was that Thomas was really the only internal contender,” a senior investment banker told fnlondon.com. “His appointment is good news, I think, he understands the importance of the global franchise, the connectivity between the divisions and the importance of sales and trading of investment banks.”
2. You have been with Credit Suisse for 20 years.
If Gottstein was satisfied with his rise to CEO, there was certainly a small part of him that thought ‘not ahead of time’. The banker has accumulated two impressive decades at the bank, working for 13 years as a manager in the investment banking division in London, as well as several years in private banking in Zurich. Before joining Credit Suisse in 1999, he was employed by rival company UBS.
3. He was a key player in the Glencore deal
In 2011, Gottstein caused a sensation at Credit Suisse when he played an integral role in the initial public offering of oil and gas giant Glencore. On a dual listing in London and Hong Kong, the company was valued at around $ 60 billion, making it one of the largest fleets ever seen in London and an important cooperative for Gottstein and the other 8 bankers involved in the agreement.
4. You think the pandemic has made banks stronger
When Credit Suisse washed Thiam’s hand and installed Gottstein as CEO, he no doubt thought the worst of his troubles were over. Unbeknownst to them, a wind was blowing from China, a wind that would deal a devastating blow to the health and wealth of the world. But despite the challenges of the ensuing lockdown, Gottstein believes that COVID has really worked for the banking community. “The coronavirus crisis actually helped strengthen those historical or traditional functions of banks, which is to provide liquidity and credit loans to companies and individuals,” he said.
5. You have eliminated a whole level of management
In July this year, Gottstein announced that it would implement some changes at Credit Suisse. A gigantic restructuring plan was subsequently implemented. In addition to abandoning the bank’s hierarchical style of communication for a more informal setup (more on this shortly), Gottstein removed an entire layer of management. To justify the move, he cited cost reduction and improved efficiency. Undoubtedly, the increase in operations in the second quarter of 2020 also influenced the decision, with Gottstein commented via the Financial Times: “These initiatives should also help provide resilience in uncertain markets and offer more advantages when more economic conditions prevail. positive ».
6. He believes in speaking out
When Gottstein rolled out his restructuring plan at Credit Suisse earlier this year, it wasn’t just one level of management that took the hit. Speaking to finews.com, he explained how he believed the communication style between bank employees was as ripe for a makeover as decentralized and hierarchical systems and procedures. Under the previous CEOS, bankers addressed each with the formal “Sie” instead of the first name “du,” a habit that puts distance between themselves and their colleagues. Gottstein, however, is more of a fan of the casual American style of communication. “We had a too hierarchical structure. They were all very formal with each other. In investment banking, I was used to approaching people directly, even younger staff. That was not necessarily the case in the Swiss business, “he says, before adding that, since the restructuring,” now we are on the …