CSFB Repositions Top Exec

CSFB Repositions Top Exec

A management shake-up at Credit Suisse First Boston, one of the nation’s biggest investment banking firms, resulted in the shifting of a top executive to a newly created position away from money management.

Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, 50, a 2002 BLACK ENTERPRISE Wall Street All-Star, was moved in August from his post as head of investment banking and appointed the company’s new chief client officer and executive vice chairman.

“He was eager to get out of the administrative tasks of investment banking,” says CSFB spokesman Pen Pendleton. “What’s different now is that he will exclusively devote his time to working on and working with clients. That’s what he’s really good at.”

The new job will give him more direct contact with the bank’s large corporate clients and relieves him of many of the managerial duties of his former post, which company insiders confirm had become a sore spot for both Ogunlesi and new CSFB Chief Executive Brady Dougan, to whom he will now report directly.

Pendleton says the new job is a vertical leap for Ogunlesi and not a demotion, pointing out that in the past he did not report directly to the bank’s CEO. Still, Ogunlesi’s reassignment may have been motivated as much by Dougan’s desire for better results from the investment banking division as anything else.

During the first half of 2002, CFSB was No. 1 in the industry for merger and acquisition activity. To his dismay, Ogunlesi returned from a vacation midyear to find that the firm dropped to the No. 2 spot. And the descent continued. Thomson Financial reported that between the end of 2002 and the present, the investment banking unit slid from No. 4 to No. 10.

Dougan, who was named the bank’s new chief in June after former CEO John Mack’s contract was not renewed, hopes to return luster — and revenues — to the investment banking unit. But he will do it minus several key players. Since Dougan took his new position, other top executives including Tom Nides, former chief administrative officer, and Stephen Volk, former chairman, have left the firm.

Ogunlesi started at the firm in 1983 as a junior banker and had been head of the investment banking practice since 2002. CSFB says Ogunlesi was never on the CEO ascension track. “I don’t think he was ever on that path,” said Pendleton. “There’s a big difference between running the investment banking business and being CEO, which requires knowledge across a wide range of businesses. It’s two different skill sets.”

During a 2002 interview with BE, Ogunlesi said, “[In this difficult environment,] there’s a premium on people who can give sound, valable advice to clients” — something he’ll be doing a lot more of in his new post.