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Credit Suisse Picks New Head of Struggling Investment Bank

Patrick Winters

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Credit Suisse Group AG’s investment bank chief stepped down, adding to months of turmoil at the top that started with the departure of its wealth management head and culminated in a spying scandal.

Jim Amine decided to resign as chief executive officer of the investment banking and capital markets division and leave the executive board, taking the role as head of private credit opportunities based in New York. The bank appointed David Miller, a 22-year Credit Suisse veteran, to succeed Amine and join the executive board.

The move is the third change at the top of the Swiss bank in less than five months, coming just weeks after the departure of Pierre-Olivier Bouee in the wake of a spying scandal and the abrupt exit of Iqbal Khan as head of the wealth-management unit in July. Amine’s division, which covers investment banking out of New York and London, reported its second quarterly loss of the year in the third quarter. Revenue for the nine months through September fell 27% from a year earlier to 1.24 billion francs.

Slumping revenue at the investment banking and capital markets unit has become a growing issue for Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam in recent quarters, while global markets trading -- a long-term straggler -- has made surprise profit gains. Following the bank’s earnings in late October, KBW analyst Thomas Hallett said that questions remain on the underperforming capital markets unit.

The bank lost out this year as a string of deals collapsed or didn’t get off the ground, including the planned initial public offering of Swiss Re AG’s U.K.-based Reassure unit and Chevron Corp.’s abandoned bid for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Still, the bank has managed to retain it’s global top 10 spot for mergers and acquisitions and it’s a global coordinator on Saudi Aramco’s mammoth share sale.

Executive Reshuffle

Amine steps down from the executive board after leading investment banking and capital markets for more than a decade. Eric Varvel, who is based in New York and heads Credit Suisse’s asset management business, was appointed chairman of the investment and capital markets unit and Harold Bogle will be the division’s vice chairman. Amine will report to Varvel in his new role, the bank said.

Miller was most recently global head of credit and part of the leadership team at global markets, the bank’s main trading unit. Previously he was global head of leveraged finance capital markets and U.S. co-chief of the syndicated loan group.

“I want to thank Jim Amine for his invaluable contributions in building our leading investment banking footprint over many years,” Thiam said in a statement. “His insight and knowledge across all aspects of investment banking have been, and will continue to be, of huge benefit to the firm.”

Bouee, Thiam’s chief lieutenant at three companies for more than 10 years, stepped down as Credit Suisse’s COO last month after ordering detectives to shadow former wealth-management head Khan in a spying scandal that gripped Zurich financial circles. The bank’s internal investigation concluded that the CEO had no knowledge of the spying.

(Adds analyst comment on results in fourth paragraph.)

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