Credit Suisse's CEO dodged an important question about his investment bankersGet the Full StoryREUTERS Arnd WiegmannCredit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam was candid during an interview with Bloomberg Markets' Francine Lacqua published Tuesday, but he was less transparent on one important point.
When asked about his relationship with his investment bankers, Thiam dodged the question.
He talked instead about the markets, or trading, division of the firm and then moved on to discuss the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
Here's how it went:
FL: "Do you have the support of your investment bankers?"
TT: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I wrote a memo to congratulate everyone for Brexit, because it took a lot of coordination to manage that well. We had worked for weeks. Two weeks before, I got uncomfortable. I could see the bookies were saying there was a 22 percent chance of Brexit, which was too high. It was a bit like a Russian roulette probability. We had to set a maximum loss, and then we took that number down. We went into the referendum in a safe place, and our execution was excellent because it was across units, across markets, across divisions. It was a robust, real-life stress test, and I'm thrilled how well the organization performed. Everybody pulled together."
Now, this was not a trivial question. Whether Thiam feels he has the support of his investment bankers is hugely important to the firm — namely because they have been leaving in droves recently.
Credit Suisse lost at least six managing directors in the first five months of the year, including five key tech bankers who went to Jefferies.
Four people familiar with the matter told Business Insider the departures were related to overall sentiment within the investment bank and a sense of being undervalued by Thiam.
Since taking charge in June 2015, Thiam has pivoted the focus of the firm toward the wealth-management division and away from the investment bank. In January he said the pay model for investment bankers was broken and their compensation should not always remain stable or increase but rather should fluctuate with the market.
Those moves have rubbed bankers the wrong way, the people said.
All the more significant, then, that Thiam was not equipped with a ready response when asked about his relationship with that critical part of the firm.
Read the full Q&A over at Bloomberg NOW WATCH: TONY ROBBINS: Here s the secret to investing like hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones