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Brian Chin’s Credit Suisse promotion shows how political the bank has become

Brian Chin Credit Suisse

It’s all change at Credit Suisse. Tim O’Hara, promoted less than a year ago to run the bank’s global markets business, is out. Brian Chin, former co-head of the bank’s credit business, has replaced him.

The circumstances preceding O’Hara’s exit aren’t entirely clear, but the FT has spoken to someone internally who claims it’s all been “endorsed by the board” and that O’Hara took it all, “very professionally.”

With O’Hara now free to go skiing with Gaël de Boissard, questions are being raised about the choice of Chin as head of global markets. As Breaking Views points out, Chin was formerly manager of Credit Suisse’s securitized products division, which accounted for around 25% of the mark to market losses declared by the bank earlier this year.

Chin’s promotion isn’t the first to raise eyebrows. Back in March, Credit Suisse promoted David Miller (along with Chin) to be joint head of its credit trading division – even though Miller had been previously implicated in the sale of billions dollars of dubious syndicated loans to clients.

Chin’s ascension comes as other banks are promoting equities professionals in place of fixed income professionals to run their sales and trading operations. It also comes after Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam suggested that the securitized products Chin’s spent years working with are going to be less important at the bank in future.

In Chin’s defence, CS insiders say he’s very well respected within the bank. The FT also says that Chin was promoted because of his efficient restructuring of the bank’s credit business. Thiam reportedly now wants him to replicate this in the equities business – meaning equities redundancies are likely at Credit Suisse in future. Nonetheless, Chin’s structured credit background makes him a strange choice for the job. The lingering suspicion is that Thiam’s Credit Suisse promotes those who talk the talk to the boss, rather than those with the best objective credentials for a role.


Contact: SButcher@eFinancialCareers.com

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