The rise and fall of Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan

NEW YORK - No American had ever run Credit Suisse by himself when Brady Dougan took over the Swiss giant in 2007. This is how he climbed to the peak, what he did during a quarter century at the bank, and why it all ended.

1959: Dougan is born in Urbana, Illinois, the youngest of five siblings. His father, a railway dispatcher, moves the family to coal-mining and farm town Murphysboro seven years later.

1981: He graduates from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in economics, working weekends and evenings at Chicago's Central National Bank.

1982: He earns a master of business administration degree, then joins Bankers Trust, first in investment banking and then a new derivatives unit. At age 24 he moves to Japan.

1987: Dougan becomes a managing director after building the bank's bond underwriting business in Japan. He would still use red and blue Japanese notebooks to take notes of conversations with staff and clients decades later.

1990: Allen Wheat, who had also moved to Tokyo, leaves Bankers Trust to set up Credit Suisse Financial Products and brings Dougan.

1993: Wheat, now president of Credit Suisse First Boston, moves Dougan from Tokyo to New York to co-head bond underwriting.

1996: Dougan takes over the equities group, reporting to Oswald Gruebel, and makes colleagues laugh by aiming to boost profit to US$1 billion.

1999: Dougan hits the goal a year ahead of schedule.

2000: He's promoted to be co-head of the firm's investment banking and equities units.

2001: John Mack replaces Wheat as CEO of Credit Suisse's securities firm and names Dougan to oversee the bond and stock units. Facing declining profit and regulatory probes, Mack cuts about 10,000 jobs.

2002: Mack and Gruebel are named to be Credit Suisse's co-CEOs, replacing Lukas Muehlemann. Credit Suisse agrees to pay US$100 million to end probes by U.S. regulators into how it allocated shares of sought-after stock offerings during the technology boom.

2004: Mack is ousted after pushing to merge with a rival and ordering Dougan to London. Gruebel becomes sole CEO and puts Dougan in charge of the investment bank.

2007: After 17 years at the bank, Dougan succeeds Gruebel and becomes the first American to be the firm's solo CEO.

2008: As rival UBS faces scrutiny for helping customers cheat on taxes, Dougan says the cross-border business with wealthy U.S. clients is "immaterial" to Credit Suisse.

2009: UBS enters into a deferred-prosecution agreement, pays US$780 million, and agrees to give the Internal Revenue Service data on 250 accounts. The U.S. drops its criminal case a year later.

2011: Dougan says Credit Suisse has had "a really state-of-the- art compliant cross-border banking business."

2014: Dougan tells a U.S. Senate subcommittee that a small group of employees helped clients cheat the IRS. Three months later, Credit Suisse pleads guilty to helping Americans evade taxes and agrees to pay US$2.6 billion. It becomes the first global bank in a decade to admit to a crime in a U.S. courtroom.

At the bank's annual meeting, Credit Suisse shareholder Ernst Schmid, wearing a traditional Swiss edelweiss, says: "Fish stinks from the head down, more precisely, that's the head of CEO Brady Dougan."

2015: Credit Suisse revises its fourth-quarter 2014 profit to include a provision for mortgage-related litigation. Less than two weeks later, Credit Suisse is poised to replace Dougan with Prudential's Tidjane Thiam.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.