Credit Suisse chairman resigns after breaking COVID-19 protocols

Credit Suisse chairman resigns after breaking COVID-19 protocols

Credit Suisse Chairman António Horta-Osório has resigned following claims that he violated COVID-19 protocols on multiple occasions, including by attending Wimbledon last year, the Swiss bank announced Monday.

Credit Suisse said Horta-Osório’s exit comes after an investigation commissioned by its board of directors.

A preliminary internal investigation found Horta-Osório breached protocol last July when he attended the Wimbledon tennis tournament’s finals despite Britain’s quarantine rules. In November, Horta-Osório also broke Switzerland’s rules by traveling without a 10-day quarantine.

“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 a statement.

Lloyds Banking Group's chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio poses for photographers outside the Lloyds Banking Group headquarters in central London, on January 9, 2012.
Credit Suisse’s board of directors criticized António Horta-Osório’s excessive use of company aircraft.
AFP via Getty Images
Axel Lehmann poses in Zurich, Switzerland.
Axel P. Lehmann will be succeeding António Horta-Osório’s chairman position following his resignation.
Credit Suisse/Handout via REUTERS

“I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time,” he added. “I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future.”

Horta-Osório resigned less than one year after he took the role with a mandate to lead an overhaul at the embattled bank amid several scandals.

Credit Suisse said Axel P. Lehmann will replace Horta-Osório as chairman. A former UBS executive, Lehmann had served as a board member and chairman of Credit Suisse’s risk committee since last October.

Group Chief Executive of Lloyds Banking Group Antonio Horta-Osorio attends the Institute of Directors annual convention at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, 06 October 2015.
António Horta-Osório regrets his “personal actions” of breaking quarantine protocols.
EPA/ANDY RAIN

Credit Suisse did not provide details regarding of the findings of its internal investigation.

Sources told Reuters that the investigation focused on Horta-Osório’s behavior, including his use of company planes.

“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,” the bank said in a press release.

The headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland.
The headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland.
REUTERS

Credit Suisse shares have declined more than 20 percent over the last 12 months.

Horta-Osório was tasked with leading a turnaround at the Swiss bank following multiple missteps, including major financial losses linked the collapse of investment firm Archegos Capital. Credit Suisse lost $5.5 billion when Archegos imploded last March due to risky trades.

Credit Suisse also faced scrutiny over a pair of corporate spying scandals involving top executives.

A picture taken on March 3, 2021 in Zurich shows a sign of Swiss banking Credit Suisse on their headquarters.
Credit Suisse is recovering after a $5.5 billion loss from Archegos Capital Management’s collapse.
AFP via Getty Images

Horta-Osório had pledged to rebuild the bank’s credibility with an emphasis on risk management.

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