Credit Suisse Chairman Says Thiam Is ‘Right Man’ for Job

Credit Suisse Group AG’s Tidjane Thiam is the "right man" to lead Switzerland’s second-largest lender even though the bank has lost more than half of its market value since he took over, Chairman Urs Rohner said.

In an interview Wednesday in the Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung, Rohner also said investors back Thiam’s plans for restructuring the lender. The bank confirmed the interview.

“We’ve discussed the strategy intensively with many investors, including the largest ones, and will continue to do so," Rohner said. "There’s no strategic dissent."

Thiam, who joined a year ago from Britain’s Prudential Plc, is shrinking the investment bank to free up capital for expanding the bank’s wealth-management business, cutting thousands of jobs in the process. The chief executive officer tapped shareholders for about 6 billion francs ($6.1 billion) in November to help fund the bank’s overhaul.

The CEO accelerated the overhaul in March after disclosing about $1 billion in markdowns on high-risk securities that led to a second consecutive quarterly loss.

"I am -- as is the whole board -- convinced that he is the right man for this task," Rohner said. "He did introduce the right measures and will continue to do so."

The chairman made similar statements to business magazine Bilanz in April.

Credit Suisse is planning a partial initial public offering of its Swiss business in 2017. Plans for the sale are on track and the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union could help the bank in the medium term, Rohner said.

"Switzerland’s financial center has the potential to benefit from its reputation as a safe haven," he said. "Brexit also helps our universal bank over the medium term.”

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