The leader who was supposed to bring stability and accountability back to Credit Suisse is gone after eight months at the helm after an investigation into his flouting of Covid-19 rules.
The bank announced Monday that Chairman António Horta-Osório resigned following a board investigation into his actions. He has been replaced by Axel Lehmann, who will be formally proposed for election to the chairman position by the board at its upcoming meeting on April 29, the bank said.
Lehmann was named to the Credit Suisse board in October and leads the bank’s risk committee. He was formerly at UBS Group, where he served on the group executive board and as a member of its risk committee.
Horta-Osório began to lead Credit Suisse in late April after 10 years as group chief executive for Lloyds Banking Group. He was found by the board to have breached Covid-19 quarantine rules in Britain and Switzerland as well as mixed personal and business activities while using Credit Suisse’s corporate jet, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
“I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally,” Horta-Osório said in the bank’s statement. “I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time. I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future.”
Credit Suisse said it expected that, “Under the leadership of Axel Lehmann, the board and the executive board will continue to execute Credit Suisse’s strategy, driving forward the transformation of the bank.”
Horta-Osório’s departure is the latest in a string of significant personnel changes at Credit Suisse in the last year, reactions to the twin crises brought on by the collapses of Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital.
Credit Suisse lost approximately $5.5 billion when Archegos collapsed in March 2021. An independent report ordered by the bank concluded a series of missteps by its risk and compliance function failed to escalate numerous red flags at the U.S. hedge fund. The bank has since exited prime services, the division of its investment bank most notably linked to its risk and compliance deficiencies.
Also in March, Credit Suisse had $10 billion in funds exposed when U.K.-based supply chain finance startup Greensill filed for bankruptcy protection. An independent investigation into the Greensill collapse is ongoing.
In reaction to the losses, Credit Suisse parted ways with Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Lara Warner, as well as Investment Bank Chief Executive Officer Brian Chin. The bank later determined too much responsibility had been focused on the chief risk and compliance officer and decided to break the position in two.
Rafael Lopez Lorenzo, who served as the bank’s global head of group internal audit since 2015, was named chief compliance officer in September, while Goldman Sachs veteran David Wildermuth began as Credit Suisse’s new chief risk officer this month.
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