Christian Meissner in 2014
Christian Meissner will give up his role at Julius Baer and relocate to Zurich from the US © Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Credit Suisse has hired former Bank of America executive Christian Meissner for a new role overseeing a drive to cross-sell more investment banking services to ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs in its private bank.

Mr Meissner, who ran BofA’s investment bank from 2010 to 2018, will start this month and relocate to Zurich from the US, according to a statement on Tuesday. He will work alongside Babak Dastmaltschi and report to the heads of investment banking and wealth management, charged with fostering closer links between the two divisions.

The 51-year-old former Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers banker will be given a budget to make a few senior external hires and recruit internally but will run a small team overall, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. 

The logic for the new position is to better service wealthy entrepreneurs that are falling between the cracks of the investment bank, where corporates and private equity are prioritised, and the wealth management unit, where the expertise does not exist to cross-sell products effectively, the person said.

Credit Suisse chief executive Thomas Gottstein, who was promoted after Tidjane Thiam was forced out earlier this year over a spying scandal, has already rejigged the investment bank in July, combining the advisory and capital markets operations with the trading division.

Mr Gottstein has spoken of the need to capitalise on the fast-growing wealth management unit and its roster of super-rich clients by more closely linking it with the investment bank, which has been a drag on earnings in recent years.

Securing a role at Credit Suisse is a return to favour for Austrian-born Mr Meissner, who departed from his role at BofA in September 2018 after the investment bank started to lose ground to rivals in businesses such as advising on mergers and acquisitions. He had also become frustrated by what he believed was a diminishing risk appetite at the US lender, the FT reported at the time.

Early last year, Mr Meissner was in talks to join UBS as a potential successor to departing chief executive Sergio Ermotti, but the discussions fell through. He subsequently joined the board of rival Swiss wealth manager, Julius Baer, but has to give up that role to join Credit Suisse.

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