Credit Suisse chief denies he will run in Ivory Coast election

Tidjane Thiam has announced that he will not leave Credit Suisse to run for president in his native Ivory Coast after after speculation that he could be a presidential candidate in 2020.

He told Swiss newspaper Le Temps he was “touched and honoured” by the support he has received, but added: “I have said many times and for many years my determination not to be politically active.”

The paper said he cited his “long-term commitment” as head of Credit Suisse, which is in the final year of a three-year revamp he initiated to focus more on wealth management and less on investment banking.

Ivory Coast presidential elections are due in 2020 and supporters have launched social media campaigns to get the Credit Suisse boss to run for head of state in the west African country. These include Ivorian Facebook pages “One million signatures for Tidjane Thiam 2020” and “TT2020”.

“My task is not yet completed and I have every intention of continuing” at the Zurich-based bank, Thiam said in an emailed statement sent after the Le Temps interview. “I am both humbled and honored by the encouragement and support I have been shown recently by many of my fellow Ivorians,” but “I am determined not to get involved in politics.”

Thiam (pictured) took charge of the Swiss bank in 2015 having previously spent more than a decade in the insurance sector, where he held roles including CEO of Prudential.

Thiam spent his early career at the consulting giant McKinsey before returning to Africa in 1994 to take charge of infrastructure projects in the Ivory Coast. Following a military coup in the country five years later, Thiam moved to the private sector in Europe.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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