Wednesday 25 March 2020 8:34 am

Credit Suisse cuts ex-boss Thiam’s bonus in wake of spying scandal

The spying scandal that rocked Credit Suisse cost former chief executive Tidjane Thiam part of his bonus in 2019, with his overall compensation falling 15 per cent to 10.7 million Swiss francs (£9.2m).

Thiam quit in February after a bitter boardroom battle with chairman Urs Rohner in the wake of the scandal over surveillance of senior executives, which damaged the reputation of one of Europe’s largest banks and shocked Switzerland’s financial community. 

Read more: Credit Suisse quarterly profit rises despite coronavirus turmoil

Thiam’s so-called short-term incentive bonus for 2019 was cut by a third, while he did not receive a long-term incentive award. He was classified as a so-called “good leaver”.

Thiam “has led by example in terms of personal commitment to the group’s conduct and ethics standards, but recognizing that the observation matter had a significant impact on the group, his non-financial assessment score has been reduced,” the bank said.

Switzerland’s second-biggest bank also confirmed that Rohner would step down at its 2021 annual meeting and that a search for his successor was making progress.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Rohner had sounded out shareholders about extending his tenure multiple times, despite repeatedly pledging to step down in 2021. 

Despite Credit Suisse reporting its highest profit in almost a decade in 2019, the bank’s collective bonus pool edged down to 3.17 billion francs. 

Credit Suisse had pledged to pay out more of its profit to shareholders via dividends and share buybacks.

Read more: Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam ousted in wake of spying scandal

Even with the cut to his pay, Thiam remained one of Europe’s best-paid bankers last year. Sergio Ermotti, outgoing chief executive of rival UBS, made 12.5 million Swiss francs in 2019. Rohner’s compensation was flat at 4.7m Swiss francs. 

The bank’s annual meeting is set to go ahead as scheduled on 30 April in Zurich, but shareholders will not be allowed to attend in person due to the coronavirus outbreak and have to submit their votes in advance.

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