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Morning Coffee: How to quit banking, by Google’s CFO. What Tidjane Thiam says about his lack of experience

How to quit banking

Putting life into perspective

If you’ve spent 20, or even 10 years in a front office investment banking job, you’re probably wealthy by most people’s standards. If you really wanted to, you could possibly even find a method of working less and make do on a smaller income. But will you? Google’s departing CFO has provided a verbal mantra to help you on your way.

“After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family,” wrote Patrick Pichette, Google CFO in a letter to employees yesterday. ” Yeah, I know you’ve heard that line before….I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life…”

Pichette’s impetus for leaving came from a holiday in Africa. He and his wife were on Mount Kilimanjaro, looking across the Serengeti, when she said:””Hey, why don’t we just keep on going. Let’s explore Africa, and then turn east to make our way to India, it’s just next door, and we’re here already. Then, we keep going; the Himalayas, Everest, go to Bali, the Great Barrier Reef… Antarctica.”

“I remember telling Tamar a typical prudent CFO type response- I would love to keep going, but we have to go back. It’s not time yet, There is still so much to do at Google, with my career, so many people counting on me/us,” said Pichette. “But then she asked the killer question: So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time? The questions just hung there in the cold morning African air….”

Five months later, and Pichette is leaving. Senior bankers could try the same reasoning.

Separately, Tidjane Thiam’s lack of investment banking experience is a source of concern at Credit Suisse’s investment bank. Thiam attempted to alleviate this yesterday. In a conversation with Reuters, he said that he’d learned a lot as a customer of investment banks. “I’ve worked on all kinds of things with them, from M&A (mergers and acquisitions) to raising capital. I’ve got a reasonable knowledge of all of that,” Thiam said, adding that he even helped reorganize some investment banks while he worked for McKinsey. “There’s more in life and in a 28-year career than you can read on a résumé,” Thiam said during the preceding news conference. “I’m very confident I can understand everything the investment bank does. I don’t have any worries.” So that’s ok then – unless you work in fixed income trading.

Meanwhile:

‘Mr. Dougan claims he hasn’t given much thought to what he’ll do next.’ (WSJ)

Private banking and wealth management at Credit Suisse are twice as profitable as investment banking, generating a return on capital of 16% last year. (Financial Times)

Instead of starting their own hedge funds, young traders are being forced to join established hedge fund groups. (NY Times) 

This is not a good time to be working for Carlyle’s ESG Credit Macro Event Master Fund. (Bloomberg)

Point72 Asset Management, the successor to Steve Cohen’s hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, has hired about 30 employees since the start of last year to build computer models that collect publicly available data and analyze it for patterns. (Bloomberg) 

More people are leaving Goldman Sachs in Singapore. (Finance Asia)

“A welder can make a six-figure income easy.” (NY Times) 

A senior analyst at Citadel died of lymphoma this week aged 37. He was only diagnosed in January. (Bloomberg) 

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