Credit Suisse chairman Horta-Osorio resigns

Antonio Horta-Osorio has resigned from the role of chairman of Credit Suisse after breaking Covid quarantine rules.

Horta-Osorio, joined the Swiss banking giant nine months ago following a 10-year tenure as chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group.

In a statement issued by Credit Suisse this morning following an internal investigation into his actions, Horta-Osorio said: “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.

“I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time.”

His departure comes after reports emerged that he had breached Covid quarantine rules in 2021 including his attendance at the Wimbledon Tennis finals in July.

Board member Axel Lehmann will replace Horta-Osorio as chairman.

Horta-Osorio joined Credit Suisse last year following a series of setbacks for the bank, including the resignation of chief executive Tidjane Thiam after it emerged that the bank had been spying on employees. Mr Thiam denied knowledge of the operations.

The bank also suffered losses related to the collapse of US hedge fund Archegos last year and the failure of UK financial firm Greensill.

In his statement, Horta-Osorio said: “I have worked hard to return Credit Suisse to a successful course, and I am proud of what we have achieved together in my short time at the bank.

“Credit Suisse’s strategic realignment will provide for a clear focus on strengthening, simplifying and investing for growth. I am convinced that Credit Suisse is well positioned today and on the right track for the future.”

New chairman Axel Lehmann was elected as a member of the board of directors of Credit Suisse Group in October 2021 and also became the chair of the risk committee. He was formerly a member of the Group Executive Board of UBS Group, initially as group chief operating officer and then as president of personal & corporate banking and president of UBS Switzerland.

Commenting on Horta-Osorio’s departure, Severin Schwan, vice-chairman and lead independent director of the board of Credit Suisse, said: “We respect António’s decision and owe him considerable thanks for his leadership in defining the new strategy, which we will continue to implement over the coming months and years.”

He added: “Axel Lehmann as the new chairman, with his extensive international and Swiss industry experience, is ideally suited to drive forward the strategic and cultural transformation of the bank. We wish Axel every success in his new role and António all the best for the future.”

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