António Horta-Osório resigns from Credit Suisse for breaching Covid rules
“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.”
Credit Suisse Group Chairman António Horta-Osório has resigned following an investigation commissioned by the Board which found he broke quarantine rules, including by attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
The bank announces the appointment of Axel P. Lehmann as its new Chairman effective immediately, leading the Board and the Executive Board to execute Credit Suisse’s existing strategy set by Horta-Osório.
Wimbledon tennis match triggered investigation
António Horta-Osório was appointed Chairman of Credit Suisse in April 2021, thus succeeding Urs Rohner who became “extremely happy” with the appointment of the Portuguese banker. He joined Credit Suisse from Lloyds Banking Group, where he was the chief executive officer for ten years, since 2011.
“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.
“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. I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future”, said António Horta-Osório. “
The Credit Suisse investigation found he breached Covid-19 rules, including attending the Wimbledon tennis finals in July 2020 when he should be in quarantine at the time. He has also breached Swiss Covid restrictions for flying into the country and not respecting the 10-day quarantine rule upon his arrival.
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. 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.”
Axel Lehmann succeeds António Horta-Osório
Axel Lehmann has taken office as Chairman and will be proposed as the new Chairman at the upcoming Annual General Meeting on April 29, 2022.
Axel Lehmann, Chairman of Credit Suisse, said: “I would like to thank the Board for the trust it has placed in me and look forward to working even more closely with the Board and the Executive Board. We have set the right course with the new strategy and will continue to embed a stronger risk culture across the firm. By executing our strategic plan in a timely and disciplined manner, without distraction, I am convinced that Credit Suisse will demonstrate the renewed strength and business focus needed to generate sustainable value for all of our stakeholders.”
Axel Lehmann is an industry veteran who was formerly a member of the Group Executive Board of UBS Group, initially as Group Chief Operating Officer and then as President Personal & Corporate Banking and President UBS Switzerland.
Between 2009 and 2015, Mr. Lehmann served as a non-executive director and a member of the Risk Committee of UBS Group and was a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee from 2011 to 2013.
His 20-year career at Zurich Insurance Group included leading the insurer’s European and North America business, group IT, and as Chief Risk Officer.