CS: Unseemly Fight Against Former Employees

Credit Suisse in New York

Credit Suisse in New York

Credit Suisse isn’t holding back in its dealings with a team of investment bankers which left the fold and joined a rival. But the petty war about the star bankers does nothing to improve the image.

When four of its star investment bankers decided in May to join Jefferies, Credit Suisse (CS) didn’t react kindly. The team of four – Steve West, Bill Brady, John Metz, Cameron Lester and Cully Davis – had years of experience in banking with the technology industry based in Silicon Valley.

CS in June demanded from a New York court to block information the bank alleged its former employees had taken along when they departed, including a pipeline of upcoming deals. The Swiss bank also wanted to stop the four from taking up their work at Jefferies before they had undergone a forensic investigation.

Last but not least, CS also aimed to prevent the team from enticing others to join them at Jefferies.

A Touch of Panic?

«Business Insider», a U.S. business news site, now says that the bank’s reaction smacked of panic and that it acted in undue haste.

The documents cited by the bank partly were old IPO prospects, the report says. The fact that the bank didn’t attempt to find an amicable solution also seems to have taken observers by surprise as it would have been the most obvious solution.

Bearing this in mind, the conclusion that the bank with the way it reacted primarily wanted to stop others from leaving seems not too far-fetched.


The efforts by CS seem to have been in vain. The New York court has rejected the demand for a ban of the bankers, for a ban on enticing colleagues and customers and ordered the bank to pay a deposit of $25,000 to cover for costs it is likely to have to pay after losing the case.

The five investment bankers were merely told not to destroy any evidence they might own. Whether they actually stole confidential documents hasn’t been proven.

One for the Gallery

«The court put a stop to the inappropriate conduct of five individuals who departed Credit Suisse and violated their obligations to the firm. Despite their actions, our global technology business is continuing to have one of its strongest years in recent memory,» a spokesman for Credit Suisse said.

The colleagues of the four aren’t likely to have enjoyed the spectacle of their employer going after their former colleagues. With CS cutting back the investment bank in favor of wealth management, morale is said to be low. In June, when CS started the court proceedings against the four departed bankers, employees at the investment unit staged something akin to a revolt.

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