The man tasked with keeping Credit Suisse traders content
Joel Kent is in London. Not since Pierre Gay, head of the global markets division and deputy CEO of the corporate and investment bank was despatched to London to dole out pizza, has a visit been of greater importance for morale.
Kent is the current head of global credit products at Credit Suisse. Based in New York, he's understood have arrived in London last night and to be staying all week in the wake of the exit of Diego Discepoli, the head of the European business, to Deutsche Bank.
Discepoli revolutionized the CS credit trading business, making it one of the most successful on the Street. His disappearance comes at a difficult time. As Credit Suisse restructures, the global credit products group is moving to CS First Boston, the investment bank that's being spun out of Credit Suisse under veteran banker Michael Klein. While most other sales and trading desks will remain within Credit Suisse under the restructuring, credit is deemed critical to the leveraged finance business, which is also moving to CS First Boston. However, it's not clear how many salespeople and traders will be needed there, particularly in Europe. Before Discepoli left the bank, insiders say he actioned something called the 'Strategy Plan for Global Credit Products EMEA business,' under which the credit business within CS First Boston has all the core management based in U.S.
Cuts have already been made to the European team. Enrique Garcia Pazos, who led Iberian sales was let go on Tuesday. Various people were ejected last week, including - surprisingly - Vivek Nahar, the head of high yield sales and one of the team's top producers, along with various analysts, associates and recent joiners.
Kent's first task will be to appoint a successor to Discepoli. Remaining members of the European credit sales team include: Benjamin Ney Davoud, Elsa Laurent, Gian Vito Magistro, Zackarias Atallah and Tamsin Weaver. All will need reassurance if they don't get the role.
Kent will also need to charm some of Credit Suisse's most valued European credit traders. They include people like Michael Konstantinou, Alessandro Pelleriti and Lefteris Kyriacou. Kent was once a trader himself: he ran Americas credit derivative trading for Credit Suisse for eight years until 2019, having formerly been an arbitrage trader at Barclays, but he's spent the past few years in operational and strategic positions and is new to the role of global head of credit, having only been promoted in September.
And if Kent isn't sufficiently persuasive? The big danger for Credit Suisse is that many of its European credit professionals could follow Discepoli to DB, where they could join a burgeoning group that includes Jonathan Moore, the bank's former - and very popular - head of global credit.
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