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Earlier this week, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to engaging in massive tax fraud and paid the U.S. government $2.6 billion as part of its settlement agreement. While these things are never something a corporation hopes for, the good news actually abounds:
1. The restitution charge is not really that high in the grand scheme of things
2. Neither clients nor counterparties can be bothered to care
3. CEO Brady Dougan (and Chairman Urs Rohner) get to keep their jobs
And although it was surely welcome news to hear he didn’t have to box up his things and leave, Brady Dougan’s employment status comes with an asterisk. Although the board “has backed the American chief executive,” the people of Switzerland have not. Indeed, the only reason they’re banging down his office door right now is that, truth be told, they like his style.
Dougan, an Illinois native and one of only three global bank CEOs still in their jobs following the financial crisis, had previously endeared himself to Switzerland in his seven years as CEO of Credit Suisse with a low-key and hard-working style. An American investment banker who received an eye-watering 90 million Swiss franc ($100.90 million) payday five years ago, Dougan shuns overt displays of wealth, which plays well in Switzerland, where ostentation is frowned upon. Outside of work, where he regularly puts in 18 hour days, he is renowned for being boring. Dougan drives a Prius and is rarely seen sipping anything stronger than Coke Zero.
Just remember though: one slip up, one moment of weakness and he’ll be gone faster than U.S. authorities can say Swiss bank account. Dougan is on extremely thin ice, and these people have spies in every Comfort Inn across the globe. That Mountain Dew in the mini-bar is calling, but the answer is gonna cost ya.