Tidjane Thiam

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Person.png Tidjane Thiam   Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(businessman, financier)
Tidjane Thiam.jpeg
Born1962-07-29
Côte d'Ivoire
NationalityIvorian, French
CitizenshipIvorian French
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique, École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, INSEAD
Member ofCouncil on Foreign Relations/Global Board of Advisors, Credit Suisse, Group of Thirty
CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse

Tidjane Thiam is a French-Ivorian banker closely connected to the consultancy firm McKinsey. He sold ('privatized') the the Ivorian economy to foreign multinationals, then moved on to become CEO of Prudential, and the Swiss bank Credit Suisse from March 2015 to February 2020.

Career

In 1982 Thiam was the first Ivorian to pass the entrance examination to the École Polytechnique in Paris. In 1984, he graduated from the École Polytechnique and in 1986 from the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris where he was top of his class. In 1986 he was offered a scholarship to study for an MBA at INSEAD and join the McKinsey Fellows Programme' in Paris. He received an MBA from INSEAD in 1988. In 1989 he took a one-year sabbatical from McKinsey to participate in the World Bank's Young Professionals Program in Washington, D.C. He returned to McKinsey in 1990, working first in New York City and then in Paris.

Ivory Coast - Trojan horse for McKinsey and World Bank

In December 1993, the first Ivorian President, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, died and was replaced by Henri Konan Bédié. In April 1994, at the request of the new President, Thiam left France and McKinsey to go back to Abidjan and become the CEO of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development (BNETD), an infrastructure development and economic advisory body with more than 4,000 staff, reporting directly to the President and the Prime Minister.

In that role, which had cabinet rank, he was also handling key negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Thiam was also a key member of the Privatization Committee, in charge of privatising extensive state-owned assets, privatising its telephone, services, electric power generation, airports, railways and many companies in the agricultural sector

In 1998, the World Economic Forum in Davos named him as one of the annual 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow, and in 1999 the Forum named him a member of the Dream Cabinet. In December 1999, whilst Thiam was abroad, the Ivorian military seized control of the government. Thiam returned to the country, where he was arrested and held for several weeks. General Guéï, the new head of state, offered him the position of chief of staff, but he declined and left the country in early 2000.

Prudential

On returning to Europe, Thiam was rewarded for his privatization services with a partnership by McKinsey in Paris, becoming one of the leaders of the company's financial institutions practice.

In 2002 he joined the British multinational insurance company Aviva, eventually becoming executive director. Thiam left Aviva in September 2007 to become chief financial officer of Prudential plc. In March 2009, Thiam was named chief executive, effective from October, after Mark Tucker chose to step down. The appointment made him the first African to lead a FTSE 100 listed company. His departure from the role was announced on 10 March 2015.

Credit Suisse

Thiam was appointed the chief executive officer (CEO) of Swiss investment bank and financial services company, Credit Suisse Group AG on 10 March 2015. An hour after his appointment was announced, the company stock increased by 7.5%. During his first two years, he led the bank through a restructuring process cutting costs and jobs. His compensation was US$9.9 million in 2016 and $10.2 million in 2017. His pay was originally scheduled to be $11.2 million in 2017, however it was reduced after shareholder backlash. From 2015 to 2018, Credit Suisse did not turn an annualized profit under Thiam.

Private investigator scandal

In September of 2019, he became involved in a scandal with Iqbal Khan, a former employee of Credit Suisse who had transferred to UBS, accusing Thiam of sending spies after him. The two, who were also neighbors, were alleged to have fallen out over personal issues earlier.[1]. At the time, Credit Suisse insisted that the Khan incident was a one-off and that CEO Thiam had no knowledge of it[2]. The former chief operating officer, Pierre-Olivier Bouée, became the fall guy for both incidents.

A private security consultant who had helped Bouée organise the spying reportedly killed himself after the incident.[3]

Later it emerged that a second executive, its former head of human resources Peter Goerke, also was spied on. The operation was conducted after Goerke was told he was being bumped off the executive team and demoted to a senior adviser role, which he still holds.

In an internal investigation, "the bank has not been able to rule out the possibility of discovering other historical spying cases and said its investigation was continuing."[4]

Tidjane Thiam resigned in February 2020, a few months after the revelation of the Khan incident. The bank slashed Thiam’s short-term bonus by a third, taking his total pay packet for 2019 down to 10.7m Swiss francs (£9.2m), including a base salary of about £250,000 per month until 31 August, when his notice period would have come to an end.


 

Events Participated in

EventStartEndLocation(s)Description
Bilderberg/20136 June 20139 June 2013Watford
UK
The 2013 Bilderberg group meeting.
Bilderberg/201930 May 20192 June 2019Switzerland
Montreux
Hotel Montreux Palace
The 67th Bilderberg Meeting
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References