EUROPE - Leonhard Fischer, Credit Suisse's chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa is leaving the position just weeks after filling it at the beginning of March.

The former head of Wintherthur, Fischer had been named as the most likely candidate to replace Credit Suisse CEO Oswald Grübel but in February the job went to Brady Dougan, head of the bank's securities unit.

Fischer will be joining Brussels-based holding company, RHJ International as co-chief executive.

He is the latest in a series of senior defections from various branches of Credit Suisse, mainly from UK operations.

In February, the second largest Swiss bank saw its head of UK fixed income, Ian Fishwick, leave, followed by Gary Potter and Rob Burdett, CSAM's joint heads of the company's £1.25bn (€1.8bn) UK multi-manager franchise.

Only days later Markus Hübscher, head of index products at Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM), left for Barclays Global Investors BGI.

Earlier this month a handful of members of CSAM's UK property team followed their former boss Glenn Newson to Aberdeen Property investors.

Last week, Bank Sarasin recruited Burkhard Varnholt, head of financial products and the investment advisory team at Credit Suisse Private Banking.

Since the defection of the UK multi-management team CSAM has appointed Graham Duce and Rob Bowie in-house to head the business alongside Aidan Kearney who joins from Premier Asset Management, where he was senior investment manager.

At the beginning of this week Fitch Ratings set the AM2 asset manager rating for London operations of Credit Suisse Asset Management on negative rating watch.