It’s awfully hard to believe Credit Suisse when it says Tidjane Thiam knew nothing at all about the apparently KGB-level spying operation at the bank. There are lots of reasons for skepticism, including the effort’s size, apparent undertaking on Thiam’s behalf, and, oh yea, the fact that it either lied (probable) or didn’t know (less likely) when it said that the botched surveillance of former Thiam lieutenant Iqbal Khan was an isolated incident, which it was not, and in any event Thiam didn’t know anything about any of it, no matter how many people were being tailed by P.I.s.
As it turns out, Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner doesn’t really seem to believe it, or Thiam, either, which is why he’s planning to replace his CEO. There is a snag in that scheme, however, which is that Credit Suisse’s investors don’t care how much spying Thiam is or isn’t doing, so long as he’s at last turning the bank around, which they think he is, a prioritization on which they think Rohner should get on board, or they’ll make their own list.
After a week in which Harris Associates’ David Herro stepped up his rhetoric against any plan to oust Thiam, other major shareholders also came forward to call for an end to the leadership crisis. Silchester International Investors, a secretive U.K. investment firm, joined Herro in demanding that Rohner should step down early if he refuses to back Thiam. U.S. fund Eminence Capital said it was “imperative” the board affirm its support for the CEO….
Rohner is “trying to push Mr. Thiam out of his role,” Herro, who helps oversee the stake of one of Credit Suisse’s top shareholders as chief investment officer for international equities at Harris Associates, said in an interview with news website The Market. If the board doesn’t “act accordingly,” he said he plans to look for other ways to remove Rohner.