Credit Suisse: a case study in governance

19th February 2020
-IAM, News

Olivier Aeschlimann, Senior Financial Analyst

Large listed companies have been boasting for a few years to implement ESG criteria. The goal is to transform their image of maximising profit monster into that of a responsible company, attentive to all stakeholders, and of course contributing to the decarbonisation of the economy. This exercise involves the development of a materiality matrix, which establishes the most important issues facing the company. In the case of Credit Suisse, the number one issue of the highest importance is, according to the 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report: the culture of compliance and conduct. As Chairman of the Board, it is the duty of Mr. Urs Rohner to ensure that the strategy implemented by the CEO goes in this direction. Therefore we should ask whether or not the issues linked to Iqbal Khan, then to the HR director, and maybe also to Greenpeace are symptomatic of Mr. Thiam’s management style? But hey, if the big shareholders are happy and support the CEO, what should the Chairman do? Indeed, the bank belongs to its shareholders and they do elect the board of directors. The next general meeting on 30th April could be stormy.