Credit Suisse Banker Known for Preaching Crypto Is Said to Leave

(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG banker Brian Wirtz, known for proselytizing on Bitcoin and blockchain technology, is leaving after five years, according to people familiar with his departure.

Wirtz, an investment banker in the technology, media and telecommunications group, tried to get the bank more involved in cryptocurrencies and related deals, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing personnel matters. In his LinkedIn profile, Wirtz says he specializes in “Blockchain and crypto-asset investment-banking advisory.” He’s starting a venture to work with security token offerings, one of the people said.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse is among banks that have expressed skepticism of crypto, as Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam has cited regulatory uncertainty around digital currencies. Still, the Swiss bank hosts crypto conferences in New York and San Francisco that are attended by hundreds including hedge fund managers trading Bitcoin.

Credit Suisse has refrained from advising clients in the cryptocurrency transactions, the people said. It does work on blockchain, which is the digital ledger underpinning cryptocurrencies. Among the bank’s staff are Emmanuel Aidoo, who heads blockchain strategy, and Paul Condra, an equity research analyst who has written about Bitcoin and blockchain.

Wirtz previously worked at boutique banks Harris Williams & Co. and Cowen & Co., according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records, and joined the Swiss bank in 2013. Credit Suisse declined to comment on his departure.

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