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Jens Welter is leaving Credit Suisse: "This is very bad"

If yesterday's big news was the carnage afflicting the pound and the gilt market, today's big news is the more parochial pain afflicting the Credit Suisse EMEA investment banking business. 

Just 11 months after Credit Suisse promoted its 27-year veteran Jens Welter to co-head global investment banking, based out of London, Welter is moving on. The Financial Times reported this afternoon that he's joining Citi instead as the new co-head of European investment banking and chair of the consumer and retail advisory business.

From Welter's perspective, the move makes absolute sense.  He's understood to have been a favourite of Manolo Falco, co-head of Citigroup's banking, capital markets and advisory business, for years, and can help manage Citi's new consumer, retail and healthcare "super-group." He's also very well-connected in the German market and is, according to sources, a generally excellent banker.

For Credit Suisse, though, Welter's exit looks like something of a disaster. As the bank considers spinning-out its investment banking business as a standalone boutique, Welter - who was promoted to help stabilize the business after over 50 senior bankers left in 2021 - would have been critical as a leadership figure in Europe. He will also almost have certainly received one of Credit Suisse's 'highly targeted' retention payments, but it clearly wasn't enough. (It probably doesn't help that the bank's share price has gone from $10 at the start of January to a record low of $3.92 today.) The risk, now, is that his departure acts as a catalyst for other exits. "This is very, very bad," said one senior London headhunter upon first learning of the news, "It will cause a lot of instability."

In Welter's absence, Credit Suisse is reaching for the next best thing and is making David Wah, Welter's former co-head, the sole global head of investment banking. Wah, however, is based in New York.  In Europe, Cathal Deasy and Giuseppe Monarchi are being promoted as co-heads of IBCM. Deasy joined from Deutsche Bank in 2015, when the German bank was having issues of its own. Monarchi has been at Credit Suisse for 30 years and was previously co-head of European coverage with Jens Haas, who didn't get elevated with him.

While Welter's exit causes ripples at Credit Suisse, his arrival may also cause a splash at Citi. Since May, Citi's EMEA investment banking business has been run Nacho Gutierrez-Orrantia, its sole head. Now, Gutierrez-Orrantia has a new co-head on the scene, and one whom the boss rates highly. "We have been talking for a long time,” Falco told the FT. “We really wanted to fit this properly. We don’t usually do a move like this.”

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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