“We do not condone personal surveillance on employees as part of our compliance,” Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner said 10 weeks ago. Well, the bank may not condone it, but it sure does seem to do a lot of it. Rohner was apologizing the CS’ former wealth management chief, Iqbal Khan—who was forced out for apparently wanting to cut down some of CEO Tidjane Thiam’s trees, and then tailed for fear that he might take some Credit Suissers with him to UBS—and was either being dishonest or demonstrating his incompetence, because hardly had the doors stopped swinging after Thiam’s right hand/scapegoat stepped through them that a second allegation emerged. And now, a third.
The Swiss media report, in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper this week, said Peter Goerke, a longtime lieutenant of Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, was followed for three days in February, citing documents and photos. Shortly after the alleged spying, Credit Suisse removed Mr. Goerke from the bank’s executive board. He gave up his job as head of human resources and became a senior adviser on bank projects…. In a memo to staff after the incident involving Mr. Khan, Mr. Thiam said the surveillance was “strictly an isolated incident.”
Which is either a very bold or very stupid statement from a CEO who claims he knew nothing of an apparently extensive internal spying operation, or both, especially if, as appears to be the case, Credit Suisse is as bad at covert surveillance as it is at everything else. Get it together, guys: The whole point of covert surveillance is that no one is ever supposed to know it’s happening, least of all the people being tailed or a newspaper photographer.