Tidjane Thiam, stepping down over a snooping scandal, said he was leaving Credit Suisse in a strong position after it unveiled a large jump in profit last year

Zurich (AFP) - Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam claimed success on Thursday after the bank posted a 69-percent jump in profit for 2019, despite a snooping scandal that is forcing him out.

“I am proud of what Credit Suisse has achieved during my tenure,” Thiam said in a statement announcing the results.

“We have turned Credit Suisse around and our 2019 results show we can be sustainably profitable,” he said.

Thiam, who will step down on Friday, became chief executive five years ago and implemented a restructuring programme to put more of a focus on the bank’s wealth management unit.

He told reporters that his objective had been to “get the bank in a place where we are less dependent on the variation of the world economy”.

Wealth management helped push up net profit to 3.4 billion Swiss francs (3.1 billion euros, $3.5 billion) on revenues of 22.48 billion francs – up seven percent from 2018.

But revenues at its investment banking arm declined 23 percent to 1.6 billion Swiss francs due to a drop in mergers and acquisitions activity.

Credit Suisse is the second biggest bank in Switzerland.

Since September last year, it has been under a cloud following revelations that it spied on its former head of wealth management, Igbal Khan, after his unexpected departure to join rival UBS.

There were further revelations of spying on a former head of human resources and claims that it had infiltrated the emails of Greenpeace, which has campaigned for Credit Suisse to stop investing in fossil fuels.

Thiam has repeatedly stated he had no knowledge of the spying.

“I have expressed regrets in writing. I am very sorry about these incidents,” he said on Friday.

“If the board decides that a change in leadership is necessary, it is my duty to make sure it happens. That’s what I am doing and I am doing that with a clear conscience,” he said.

Thiam will be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, who currently heads up all of the bank’s activities for the Swiss market.