Dixit Joshi: the new Credit Suisse CFO facing a daunting challenge

Dixit Joshi 'loves solving big, complex financial problems', according to one acquaintance CS

As daunting first weeks go, Dixit Joshi’s takes some beating. After a weekend of damaging speculation on social media about the impending collapse of Credit Suisse, Joshi started as the bank’s chief financial officer last Monday with its share price plumbing new lows and a gauge of default risk spiralling higher.

This content was published on October 10, 2022 minutes
Owen Walker, Financial Times

The British-South Africa banker turned up to his first executive team meeting in Zurich that morning and quipped to colleagues: “You forgot to send me flowers – all I got were these gifts from the market. So much for my honeymoon period!”

External Content

By Friday, the bank’s share price had bounced off a record low and its credit default swaps, a measure of default risk, were no longer flashing red. But if Joshi needed a reminder that he had taken on one of the most demanding jobs in global finance, the market had delivered it.

The 51-year-old, who first joined Credit Suisse in London in 1995, is back at a defining moment for the bank.

Chief executive Ulrich Körner is racing to meet an October 27 deadline to unveil a much-anticipated restructuring that will strip back its investment bank, cut thousands of jobs and aims to restore investors’ confidence that the scandal-hit group has a profitable future.

The already Herculean task facing Körner, who has only been chief executive since July, has been made tougher by the febrile state of markets, with rising interest rates and falling stocks putting investors on high alert for signs of financial stress.

In Joshi, Credit Suisse has picked an executive accustomed to working at banks in the line of fire. His résumé includes a stint at Barclays throughout the financial crisis followed by just over a decade at Deutsche Bank, a lender whose own need to reinvent itself in recent years has parallels with Credit Suisse.

“He’s battle-hardened from his time at Deutsche Bank, and that’s what Credit Suisse needs right now,” said Huw van Steenis, co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council who has known Joshi for more than two decades.

Laser focus

After joining Deutsche Bank in 2011, Joshi was initially sent to Singapore to revive the bank’s Asia-Pacific equities business. A couple of other senior positions in the investment bank followed, before then chief executive John Cryan asked Joshi to take on the role of group treasurer in 2017.

The role required keeping a laser focus on the bank’s finances, and maintaining close relations with its investors – especially bondholders – to make sure its capital needs were met.

Joshi took the job just as Deutsche Bank reeled from what senior executives have since described as a “near-death experience” after the group was hit by a record $14 billion (CHF14 billion) fine from the US Department of Justice following a mis-selling investigation.

Between 2015 and 2020, the bank slumped to consecutive annual losses while also turning to shareholders for several capital increases. The lender is still also going through a painful job-cutting exercise, targeting 18,000 roles, that was first announced in 2019.

“Someone took the script from Deutsche Bank over those years and applied it here,” said one Credit Suisse executive this week, referring to the problems both banks have faced.

Indeed, Joshi has already repeated a ploy used by his former employer when its financial health came under intense scrutiny.

Credit Suisse on Friday offered to buy back CHF3 billion of its debt in an attempt to reassure investors and take advantage of falling market prices. In 2016, Deutsche Bank repurchased billions of dollars of senior bonds.

According to Credit Suisse executives, Joshi spent most of his first week talking to the bank’s biggest clients and investors, as well as regulators. He also spoke to analysts at S&P Global, who this week reaffirmed their A/A-1 rating on the bank despite uncertainty over the strategic revamp and speculation it may need to raise more capital.

Nuanced approach

Joshi, who agreed to join in August, will be supported in the coming months by his predecessor, David Mathers, who had been chief financial officer since 2010 and is likely to stay at the group until the end of the year, according to people familiar with internal plans.

Credit Suisse did not disclose how much Joshi would earn, although last year Mathers was the bank’s highest paid executive, receiving CHF4.1 million in total pay, after bonuses for senior managers were chopped following scandals at Archegos and Greensill Capital. Mathers combined the CFO role with being chief executive of the international business in London, meaning his pay was higher.

A former colleague at Germany’s biggest bank said that Joshi would bring experience across investment banking, including overseeing prime broking, institutional debt, listed derivatives and clearing at Deutsche Bank.

“His key advantage in the job is that he has a genuine understanding of sales and trading,” said the former colleague.

However, Joshi was not a champion of radical change at Deutsche Bank, but rather pushed for a nuanced and careful approach, they added. “For me, the big question will be if he will have enough oomph to make a difference at Credit Suisse.”

‘Mature and calm’

Born in Durban in South Africa in 1971, Joshi studied actuarial science and statistics before joining Credit Suisse.

After postings in London and New York, he was poached by Bob Diamond and Jerry del Missier to join Barclays’ expanding investment bank in 2003 as head of equity derivatives. He subsequently ran equities for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“We were dealing with some pretty difficult market environments back then, especially in the derivatives world,” said del Missier, who was co-chief executive of Barclays’ corporate and investment bank.

“There were some huge surges in volatility. He was always mature and calm when dealing with that and capable of grasping the complexity,” said the former Barclays executive.

It was after Barclays snapped up Lehman Brothers’ investment bank at the height of the financial crisis that Joshi left for Deutsche Bank. Defying the stereotype of bankers, Joshi is a teetotaller and life-long vegetarian, who was persuaded to go vegan by one of his three daughters.

“He’s a pretty button-down guy,” added del Missier. “He’s not the sort to be jumping up and down on tables at La Voile Rouge in Saint-Tropez.”

Van Steenis said that Joshi’s actuarial training and forensic interest in crunching numbers would leave him well-equipped for his new role.

Stepping up from a treasurer role to chief financial officer will require Joshi to take a broader view of the bank’s finances and assume greater responsibility for setting strategy. It is also much more visible to the outside world just as Credit Suisse is under the spotlight.

“He loves solving big, complex financial problems,” said van Steenis. “And they don’t come much bigger at the moment than Credit Suisse.”

Additional reporting by Olaf Storbeck

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?