Credit Suisse announced today that Tidhane Thiam will replace Brady Dougan as CEO, taking the helm at the end of June.
Thiam is the current CEO of Prudential, one of Britain’s leading insurance companies, a job he has had for almost six years. Prior to that, he worked at Aviva, another British insurer, first as a business developer and then as CEO for Europe.
Thiam was born in Ivory Coast in 1962. His mother was the niece of Ivory Coast’s first president, while his uncle on his father side is Habib Thiam, who was president of Senegal for 10 years.
Thiam himself worked in the Ivorian government from 1994 to 1999, working as the boss of the National Bureau of the Technical Studies and Development and a personal economic advisor to Ivorian president Henri Bédié.
He then became a minister in the Ivorian cabinet and the World Economic Forum named him one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow.
At this point a military coup ousted Bédié’s government in Ivory Coast and Thiam left the country to got to France. He had already lived in Paris as a student of the École Polytechnique, the first Ivorian to enter the school, and later as a consultant for McKinsey & Co.
Thiam holds a French citizenship and was awarded the Legion d’Honneure, France’s top honorary award, by president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011.
His ties with the UK grew tighter as he progressed at Prudential: in 2012, Thiam was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group and last year he was made an ambassador for British Business.
Thiam is also a board member of 21st Century Fox, he was made a non-executive director there in November 2014.