The noose around Brady Dougan's neck is tightening. The U.S. Justice Department is demanding a formal confession that Credit Suisse actively helped its American wealth management customers to avoid tax. A sacrificial lamb will not suffice. The U.S. wants a signature from the executive suite and only Brady Dougan, CEO, or Urs Rohner, chairman are in a position to furnish it. Rohner is unlikely to be pushed forward, leaving Dougan as the most likely candidate for self-incrimination. The move could mark the end of Dougan's career at CS. Calls for him to quit are mounting. In some circles there are (unconfirmed rumours) that Egon Zehnder, a headhunting firm, has already been engaged to find Dougan's replacement.
But if Dougan, a U.S.-born marathon-obsessed ex-trader, disappears from Credit Suisse, where will that leave the investment bank? Will Credit Suisse follow Barclays in appointing a non-investment banker as its new chief? These are the alternatives to Dougan currently suggested by the Swiss press. Some would be good for the investment bank. Others, less so.
Ulrich-Meister is the CEO of private banking and wealth management at Credit Suisse. Born in 1959, he started his career at Swiss Bank Corporation in 1983 and stayed there when it merged with UBS. Ulrich-Meister is favoured by the Swiss faction within the bank. He has little experience of investment banking, however. He also spent a lot of his career at UBS, having only joined Credit Suisse in 2007.
Varvel is one of two Dougan-alternatives who would be good for the investment bank. An American by birth, 51-year-old Varvel joined Credit Suisse in 1990. He's held various positions in the investment bank in Asia and the U.S. Unfortunately, he falls into the 'U.S. investment banker' category occupied by Dougan and might be passed over by the board for this reason.
Like Varvel, de Bossard would likely be a good thing for Credit Suisse's investment bank. The 47-year old Frenchman joined Credit Suisse in 2001 from JPMorgan and is a fixed income professional by trade. Unfortunately, the fixed income business isn't performing particularly well at the moment, which may undermine de Bossard's case for leading the entire bank.
Mathers is Credit Suisse's CFO. He also has responsibility for IT and operations across the bank and has long experience of running the infrastructure functions of Credit Suisse's investment bank. 49 years old and British, Mathers is seen as a Dougan confidant. This may not leave him well-placed in the event that Dougan himself departs. Nor does it help that Mathers has limited experience of wealth management.
Shafir leads Credit Suisse's U.S, wealth management business. He spent 17 years at Lehman Brothers, most recently as head of equities, before joining Credit Suisse in 2007. Shafir was head of Credit Suisse's asset management business between 2008 and 2009. In his favour, he has experience in investment banking, asset management and wealth management. Less promisingly, he's head of the U.S. wealth management which is at the eye of the storm. He's also American, like Dougan.
If Egon Zehnder have indeed been engaged to replace Dougan, chances are that they will have called Boris F. J. Collardi, head of Julius Baer since 2009. A mere 40 years old, Collardi may be a little too green for the Swiss board. Collardi has no knowledge of investment banking, making him an outsider. However, he is Swiss and this is likely to act in his favour.
Another Swiss favourite is Bruno Pfister, the 55 year-old recently retired head of Swiss Life. Pfister started his career Chase Manhattan, where he worked in wealth management before becoming CFO. Ominously, he too has no investment banking experience.