- He holds engineering degrees from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris (top of his class), and an MBA from the French business school INSEAD.
- Mr Thiam spent the first part of his professional career with McKinsey & Company in Paris and New York. He then spent several years in Côte d’Ivoire where he was chief executive and later chairman of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development and a cabinet member as Secretary of Planning and Development. Thiam returned to France to become a partner with McKinsey & Company, before joining the British multinational insurance company Aviva in 2002. He worked at Aviva until 2008, holding successively the positions of Group Strategy and Development Director, Managing Director of Aviva International, Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Europe.
He served as chief financial officer of Prudential from March 25, 2008, to September 30, 2009, before becoming chief executive. The Financial Services Authority censured Thiam in March 2013 over The Prudential's "failure to inform the FSA at the appropriate time that it was seeking to acquire AIA, the Asian subsidiary of AIG, in early 2010."
Letter to the Telegraph
On 1 April 2015 Thiam was one of 103 business leaders who wrote to the Telegraph praising the British Conservative Party's economic policies and claiming a Labour government would 'threaten jobs and deter investment' in the UK.
- Tidjane Thiam, Africa Progress Panel, accessed 5 June 2013.
- Credit Suisse Brady W. Dougan to leave Credit Suisse after eight years as CEO − Tidjane Thiam to become Chief Executive Officer, 3 October 2014, accessed 7 April 2015.
- Mike Pflanz and Henry Samuel, Tidjane Thiam: the man from the Pru's beginnings in Ivory Coast, telegraph.co.uk, 3 April 2009.
- FSA fines Prudential £30 million and censures CEO for failing to inform regulator of 2010 acquisition plans, Financial Services Authority, 27 March 2013.
- Peter Dominiczak, 100 business chiefs: Labour threatens Britain's recovery, Telegraph, 7 April 2015.
- Business Advisory Group Gov.UK, 18 November 2014, accessed 8 April 2015.