Credit Suisse said yesterday that Marcel Kreis will assume a newly created position as chairman of private banking in Asia-Pacific, effective January 1, 2012.

Francesco de Ferrari, who will relocate to the region on August 1, will succeed Kreis as head of private banking Asia-Pacific as of January. He will report to Walter Berchtold, CEO of private banking, and Osama Abbasi, CEO Asia-Pacific.

In the meantime, de Ferrari, who will be based in Singapore, will assume the role of deputy head of private banking Asia-Pacific.

Francesco de Ferrari

In March, we reported that de Ferrari was relocating to the region on August 1 as market area head of private banking for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and that he would report to Kreis. The remit and the reporting line have subsequently changed.

Observers note that both indicate a minor power struggle, or Credit Suisse’s continued efforts to beef up its private banking manpower in the world’s fastest-growing region for private banking.

Indeed, its Asia-Pacific private banking unit has been among the fastest-growing of Credit Suisse’s international wealth management businesses, with approximately 20% annual growth in net new assets (NNA) during the past three years. Since 2008, cumulative NNA has amounted to CHF36 billion ($34.7 billion) in Asia, contributing to more than a quarter of the bank’s global NNA result.

Commenting on the appointments, Berchtold said: “Francesco joins Asia-Pacific with in-depth knowledge of our private banking business and proven management capabilities. His professional experience and strong strategic skills make him an excellent choice for this senior leadership role. [Kreis] will continue to play an important role as chairman in providing strategic vision and support to the senior management team in private banking Asia-Pacific. He will be actively involved as senior coverage for our key clients and will support and facilitate relationships within private banking and cross-divisionally.”

De Ferrari joined Credit Suisse in 2002 and has held various senior roles at the bank, including most recently head of private banking Italy and prior to that, chief operating officer for private banking Europe, Middle East and Africa. He started his professional career in 1990 and has worked in a number of blue-chip companies, such as Deloitte & Touche, Nestle and McKinsey. Before joining Credit Suisse, he founded and led two different entrepreneurial ventures in the retail distribution and internet fields.

Abbasi added in a press release: “Francesco’s appointment is also testimony to the bank’s success in developing and supporting our best people. We have considerable growth ambitions for the region, and private banking is core to our strategy.”