Clayton Coplestone resigned from Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, where he had served as director and head of business development for Asia ex-Japan for the firmÆs asset management division.

Market rumour says he is lining up another job in the region, but Coplestone didnÆt return calls. He reported to two men in Zurich, David Blumer and Larry Haber, CEO and CFO respectively of the global asset management business.

The reason for his departure is unclear.

Coplestone, a native of New Zealand, played a critical role in establishing Credit Suisse Asset Management in Asia. The firm had businesses in Australia and Japan but until recently had no presence in Asia proper. Coplestone led the strategy of leveraging Credit SuisseÆs banking relationships to create JVs, and helped seal the organisationÆs two key deals: the JV with Woori and another joint venture in China with ICBC, the nationÆs largest state-owned bank and also the most powerful distributor of investment products.

The ICBC deal was an inspired example of being in the right place at the right time: Credit Suisse had only begun looking for opportunities in China when the authorities in Beijing decided to let commercial banks take stakes in fund management companies. Credit Suisse seized the moment and sealed a deal with ICBC, sidelining other suitors, which had been trolling the market for years. The resulting JV, ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management, launched an equity fund that raised over Rmb5 billion last spring.

In April, Credit Suisse acquired 30% for $57 million of Woori Asset Management - which is a $15 billion fund manager attached to the second-largest distributor in Korea.

Beyond the two JVs, the firmÆs business in Asia ex-Japan is of a modest size and can tick over. Salman Shoaib is the sole managing director in the region, serving as COO, and will run the firm on a day-to-day basis. But it will have to find a replacement for Coplestone in order to look for more deals or establish distribution relationships, say sources, who believe the business is ôrudderlessö for the time being.