May 13 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse Group on Friday
said "nothing has changed" since Chairman Axel Lehmann endorsed
Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein last month, following a
Bloomberg News report that the bank was considering replacing
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said the
board has held early talks on removing Gottstein. The change
could come this year, the report https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-13/credit-suisse-weighs-removing-ceo-gottstein-as-soon-as-this-year
Credit Suisse in a statement said it does not comment on
rumours and speculation, but added: "The Chairman clearly
endorsed Thomas Gottstein. Nothing has changed in this regard."
Gottstein took on the top job in 2020 and has since steered
the bank through a string of scandals. Those include regulatory
blowback for spying on its executives and the collapse of two
clients, former British financier Greensill and New York
investment fund Archegos.
That prompted an exodus of key staff and wiped billions off
the Zurich-based lender's market value in 2021.
While the board continues to publicly voice support for
Gottstein, some members are increasingly worried he is not
getting a handle on the banks problems, Bloomberg reported.
Critics say Gottstein should have better handled the risks
related to Archegos, whose meltdown left the bank with a $5.5
billion loss, and spotted red flags in its relationship with
In April this year, however, Lehmann told Swiss newspaper
NZZ that he supports Gottstein and that roughly 10 key investors
back the bank's board and its strategy.
"With so many new appointments, you also need someone at the
top who knows what makes the entire organization tick and who
the key customers are," Lehmann told NZZ. "At the moment, we
have a good mix of continuity and change."
Gottstein replaced former CEO Tidjane Thiam who was forced
out due to the damaging spying scandal. In January this year,
former chair Antonio Horta-Osorio left abruptly following an
internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of
COVID-19 rules. He was replaced by Lehmann.
Weary Credit Suisse investors fear a long wait for the bank
to get back on track after its scandals wiped billions off its
market value and piled pressure on management, Reuters reported
While Switzerland's second-largest bank has said it can
create value by serving its wealthy clients with "care and
entrepreneurial spirit," the market is not yet convinced and its
share price has dropped by nearly a third in a year, knocking
some 10 billion Swiss francs ($11 billion) off its valuation.
In recent months its reputation has once again been put
through the mill in the first criminal trial of a major bank in
Switzerland, in which Credit Suisse and a former employee face
charges of allowing an alleged Bulgarian cocaine trafficking
gang to launder millions of euros, some of it stuffed into
Credit Suisse has rejected all the allegations, while its
employee denies wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Carolina Mandl, John O'Donnell and Brenna Hughes
Neghaiwi; Editing by Michelle Price, Mark Porter and Matthew