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Credit Suisse’s Middle East CFO laid off amid regional shake-up

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Credit Suisse’s chief financial officer for the Middle East and Africa has left his post, as the bank struggles to hold on to senior executives in the region, according to a source close to the situation.

Duncan Walker, who moved to Dubai over five and half years ago to take the role of CFO for the MENA region and South Africa, is leaving his role, according to a source close to the situation.  A number of senior investment bankers in the Middle East are also departing Credit Suisse as it scales down in the region and shifts roles from Dubai to Qatar.

Walker was offered the chance to relocate back to the UK, where he was previously CFO for the private bank, but declined and has accepted a severance package of around a year’s salary, suggests the source. He will be replaced by Linda Wastie, who moves up from her current position as head of financial accounting for MEA.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.Walker couldn’t be immediately reached.

Credit Suisse has around 180 employees in its offices in the Dubai International Financial Centre across private banking, asset management and investment banking, but has been scaling back in the region.

In September, Credit Suisse cut its Dubai operation, with two senior bankers and around five back office staff asked to leave. It’s also relocating jobs from the UAE to Qatar, but this is also believed to be causing problems.

Reuters reported today that Credit Suisse’s top investment banker for Qatar, Rami Touma, has resigned. This follows other senior departures including Bassam Yammine, who was co-head of Middle East investment banking and co-chief executive for Credit Suisse’s MENA operation, who left last October.

Mumtaz Kazmi, head of M&A for the region also left last year and Michael Katounas, a Dubai-based investment banking director, has resigned, says the report. In part, this is down to a resistance to relocate to Qatar, it suggests.

“I am not sure how well that plan is working, at least on the investment banking side. They haven’t been able to move any of the senior bankers to Doha so far,” a banking source told Reuters.

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