When Credit Suisse First Boston chief executive Brady Dougan took over from John Mack in June, one of the first people he called was Michael Philipp, a former head of Deutsche Asset Management and only the second American to serve on Deutsche Bank's Vorstand. The pair had been introduced in 1999 by Philipp's nephew, who worked at CSFB in New York.
The conversations started very informally, says Philipp, but after three meetings it was clear that Dougan wanted more than just a behind-the-scenes counselor. Next month Philipp, who has been semiretired for two years, will join CSFB as chairman and CEO of the firm's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
"Brady and [Credit Suisse Group CEO] Ossi [Grübel] had to convince me that there was a strategy that was executable in reasonable time to make CSFB the best-performing investment bank in the industry," says Philipp, 51. "It has all the ingredients to be a success. It just needs a clear and executable strategy."
Philipp was won over by the newly announced "one bank" plan, which merges Credit Suisse and CSFB to create a single integrated bank with three core businesses: private clients, corporate and investment banking and asset management. "There is a lot of work to do," says Philipp. "It isn't simply about cutting costs; it's about simplifying the structure of the bank, as there are too many entities." He believes that asset management, for example, which reports to both Credit Suisse and CSFB, will benefit from being a clear business division in the new structure.
Philipp, who worked at Merrill Lynch before joining Deutsche, says he never completely ruled out a return to work: "My view has always been that for the right firm at the right time in the right place, I would absolutely consider a frontline role."