ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) wealth management boss Iqbal Khan is leaving Switzerland’s second-largest bank in the latest high-level departure under Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam.
Khan’s surprise move “to pursue other opportunities” sparked speculation that the 43-year-old, who has overseen solid growth and profitability gains at Credit Suisse, could move to Swiss rivals Julius Baer (BAER.S) or UBS (UBSG.S).
“His long-term goal is to attain a top job. But the path there could also lead through another division head job, it doesn’t need to be a CEO role directly,” a source familiar with Khan’s thinking said on Tuesday.
Khan is considering offers from Swiss and international banks and plans to make a decision in late August or September, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
His sudden move had come as a shock even to close associates, another source close to Khan said, while a source close to Thiam said they did not know what he planned next.
The Swiss citizen, who could not be reached for comment, will be replaced by international wealth management’s (IWM) chief financial officer, Philipp Wehle, a Credit Suisse veteran and former German military intelligence officer who has held a number of roles since joining in 2005.
Wehle was also appointed a member of the executive board, Credit Suisse said in a statement on Monday.
Sources told Reuters in March that Baer is considering Khan as a possible successor to its CEO Bernhard Hodler.
Other sources have said Khan could be a good candidate for various roles at the world’s largest wealth manager, UBS.
Baer and UBS declined to comment on Tuesday.
Thiam — who has cut thousands of jobs, focused on wealth management and settled legal cases that had plagued predecessors — has been reshuffling leadership including naming a new chief risk officer in February.
“Under his leadership, IWM has delivered strong financial results, while enhancing our client franchise and achieving industry leading growth,” Thiam said in a statement. “I thank Iqbal for the strong results he delivered.”
IWM had record quarterly net revenue and pre-tax income in the first three months of the year.
Khan joined Credit Suisse from Ernst & Young in 2013 as finance chief for the private banking and wealth management business and in 2015 was appointed as CEO of IWM and an executive board member.
Financial sector sources said Khan would be a good candidate for foreign banks, one adding he “could easily be a strong addition to some of the American banks”.
Shares in Credit Suisse were down 0.7% at 1355 GMT, compared to a 0.1% drop for Europe’s banking index .SX7P, while Baer and UBS, were up 1.1% and 0.3% respectively.
Reporting by Oliver Hirt, Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Angelika Gruber; additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alexander Smith