How to Stop Sinking

For a man whose company just announced a record €1.4 billion third-quarter net loss, John Mack, incoming co-CEO of the Credit Suisse Group, sounds mighty confident. Despite the red ink, the affable American, whose manner belies his nickname of "Mack the Knife," is buoyant. "I'm an optimist," he told Time.

Given Credit Suisse's recent track record, Mack could be accused of wishful thinking. Consider how the 146-year-old bank — Switzerland's second-largest, with operations globally — has seen its key divisions gouged by hostile market conditions. In the third quarter Winterthur, Credit Suisse's insurance arm, punched a €955...

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