Credit Suisse, a leading Swiss banking institution in the private and investment banking sectors, had a poor performance after the financial crisis of 2008 and was trailing its global peers. The bank appointed Tidjane Thiam as the new CEO of the bank in July 2015, with the mandate to turn the bank around.
When Tidjane Thiam joined, Credit Suisse had a weak capital position, which prevented it to effectively compete. Additionally, the bank had some businesses which were “structural” loss-makers and hence a drag to the Group’s profitability and capital positions.
Even more important than the underperforming businesses and weak capital position, it was apparent that Credit Suisse was lacking a clear and consistent strategy. Private banking and investment banking businesses were operating to some extent as independent operations and the bank was not taking advantage of synergistic opportunities across its businesses.
The board asked the new CEO, Tidjane Thiam, to conduct a detailed strategic review, in closed collaboration with the Group Board, to restructure the bank. The case is centered on this strategic review and explains the position of the bank prior to the arrival of the CEO.