Will Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan Be Gone Next Month? He Should Be

Print Email

There continue to be reports that Credit Suisse Group A.G. (NYSE: CS) CEO Brady Dougan will lose his job early next year, and he should.

Reuters recently reported:

Dougan might have played his last hand with an overhaul that strengthens the investment bank where the American made his career before taking over as chief executive in 2007 while also promoting two more executives to join the race to succeed him.

Credit Suisse is, quite frankly, in a bigger mess than almost any other money center bank in the world. As a sign of how terrible management has been, Wall St. has abandoned the financial firm’s shares. They are down 40% over the past two years, a slide that is much worse than that of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), the weakling among America largest banks.

Two of Credit Suisse’s recent black eyes involve, first, a suit brought by New York’s attorney general over alleged deceptions the bank used to sell mortgage-backed securities. It already has settled similar charges brought by the federal government. Clearly management oversight of sales practices were entirely lacking, and Credit Suisse has begun to pay the price.

In the other case, Dougan admitted his structuring of the banks was deeply flawed, and he changed much of the organization. As the new structure set in, he said:

[We] restructured our investment banking model resulting in a high returning, lower risk, client-oriented business. Our private banking model is highly scalable and suited for the new regulatory environment. And we have sharpened the focus of our asset management business.

The move shows that Dougan’s early organization resulted in losses, and that he finally acknowledges it, well after most large banks already had done so.

Not terribly long ago, botched moves to repair Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) cost CEO Vikram Pandit his job. The board had figured out that both Pandit’s legacy and current programs had battered the bank badly. The same is true with Dougan, and it is time for him to go.

Douglas A. McIntyre