A prominent investment bank apologized for “any wrongdoing” after its former black CEO reportedly left his boss’s birthday party when a black artist dressed as a doorman danced on stage.
New York times mentioned Tidjan Thiam, who ran Credit Suisse between 2015 and February of this year, walked out of the room during Urs Rohner’s sixth birthday celebration.
Runner’s 54-themed birthday party in the studio, which took place last November, featured 1970s costumes and performers. Later on, Ronner’s friends also performed on stage numbers, all wearing afro wigs.
Thiam was Overthrown this year In the wake of a Swiss bank spying scandal, he ended his five-year tenure as the only black CEO at the head of a major world bank. Thiam, 58, was born in Ivory Coast and holds Ivorian and French citizenship.
The bank apologized when contacted by The Guardian, but said the Christmas event was not intended to cause offense. “This is a completely wrong description of the evening. There was no intention whatsoever to cause any offense, and we apologize for any wrongdoing.”
A person familiar with the event said that neither the bank nor Ronner participated in organizing the party at the Zurich restaurant. They said the janitor was one of nine or ten works that also featured international artists from countries including Russia and China.
Labor MP Roshanara Ali, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, said she was “shocked and appalled” by the report. “At a time when racial division and intolerance are on the rise across the United States and the United Kingdom, it is imperative that all our institutions, including the banking sector, play their role in eliminating racism and intolerance in all its forms,” she said.
Credit Suisse said it has launched a number of initiatives to promote diversity across the bank, including a program to recruit, retain, and develop black talent in the United States. In the United Kingdom, where it employs 5,500 people, it has signed the Business in Society at Work Charter, which requires companies to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards racial harassment or bullying. The bank employs 48,500 people worldwide.
A bank spokesman said: “Credit Suisse is deeply committed to equality, diversity, and support for all of our employees. Over the past year, Credit Suisse has taken additional steps to demonstrate our commitment to underrepresented groups within the company, and is implementing broader initiatives to further this. As a company, we are proud of being a geographically and culturally diverse group, and we strive to promote this culture that supports all of our colleagues. “
The Guardian has contacted Thiam for comment.
A friend of Thiam’s said that the former CEO never received a personal apology from the bank.