Paul Kuo will step down as Credit Suisse’s chief executive in Japan on January 1 to be replaced by Olivier Thiriet, head of Asia-Pacific cash equities, the Swiss bank said yesterday in a statement.
Thiriet will take responsibility for Credit Suisse’s overall business in Japan, which comprises private banking, investment banking and asset management. He will be shadowed by Kuo, who worked for the bank for 18 years, until April as he gets up to speed with the new position. The learning curve should not be too steep as Thiriet knows the Japan business well, having worked for Credit Suisse in Tokyo from 2001, when he moved from New York to develop the bank’s electronic brokerage business in Japan, through to 2009, when he assumed his current position in Hong Kong.
By 2006, he was running the advanced execution business (marketed under the name AES) for the whole region and was instrumental in building the bank’s leading Asia franchise, earning recognition along the way as a rising talent within Credit Suisse. One former colleague described him as “decisive and visionary”, adding that the bank “can definitely benefit from his leadership”.
According to the source, Thiriet built the AES platform in Asia with limited resources, which doubtless helped his candidacy given the current market environment — being known as someone who can do more with less is a valued trait these days.
Indeed, in addition to running Japan, Thiriet will also continue to lead the cash equities business in the region. In the Japan role, he will report to Osama Abbasi, Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific chief executive officer.
“In his new position, Olivier returns to Japan to assume leadership of a business platform that we are firmly committed to strengthening,” said Abbasi in a statement. “With a track record of proactively developing efficient, profitable businesses, Olivier is ideally positioned to lead our operations in Japan and make them into an even more important contributor to the region's profitability and to the strengthening of our client franchise.”
In the cash equities role, Thiriet will continue to report to Ali Naqvi, Asia-Pacific head of equities.
This will be Thiriet’s third posting to Tokyo, having first worked in the city for Societe Generale during the 1990s. Before joining Credit Suisse, he worked at SG Cowen in New York.