Credit Suisse Adds Risk Veterans to Board With UBS, Lloyds Alums
(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG nominated former UBS AG executive Axel Lehmann to head the board of directors’ risk committee and the ex-chief risk officer at Lloyd’s Banking Group Juan Colombas for a seat on the board, in the latest effort to reinforce the bank’s management team.
The proposals will be put before an extraordinary shareholders meeting set for Oct. 1, the Zurich-based lender said in a statement Friday. If elected, Lehmann would succeed Richard Meddings as head of the board of directors’ risk committee, who is currently serving ad interim following the departure of Andreas Gottschling in April.
Credit Suisse is working to rebuild its management ranks after the $5.5 billion hit related to losses from prime brokerage client Archegos and further damage from the wind-down of supply chain finance funds linked to the defunct trade-finance firm Greensill Capital. With the nominations, Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio’s is continuing to tap experienced bankers who’ve served at top-tier rivals after a string of departures weakened the ranks.
Juan Colombas, who has been a non-executive director at ING Groep NV since last year, previously served under Horta-Osorio as chief risk officer at Lloyds from 2011 to 2020. Lehmann stepped down from his position leading UBS Group AG’s Swiss personal and corporate banking business on Jan. 31 and was most recently non-executive director and a member of the risk committee for Switzerland’s largest lender.
The two nominees “will make an invaluable contribution as we shape the bank’s strategic realignment and enhance our culture of risk management and personal responsibility and accountability,” Horta-Osorio said in the statement.
“These are all very positive moves that will enhance risk control at Credit Suisse,” David Herro of Harris Associates, one of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholders, said in an emailed statement. “This will allow the company to continue to transform itself in a very positive manner so the sins of the past are never repeated.”
Since Archegos, in which Credit Suisse suffered a greater hit than any Wall Street bank, the lender has purged senior staff including investment banking head Brian Chin, risk and compliance head Lara Warner and both co-heads of the prime brokerage business. In turn, it has created 20 new credit-risk roles and appointed chief business risk officer for its investment bank. In recent months Credit Suisse has also hired two Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives, with David Wildermuth to become its new chief risk officer and Joanne Hannaford the chief technology and operations officer. Ex-UBS executive Ulrich Koerner joined as head of asset management in April.
The bank has also recouped $70 million in pay including bonus claw-backs, and punished 23 people in total for their role in the Archegos scandal. Executives have been paring risk, including downsizing the prime brokerage business by more than a third and cutting ties with clients it sees as posing greater likelihood of losses, while Horta-Osorio has pledged a sweeping review of the banks culture and attitude towards risk.
What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:
“Credit Suisse’s risk management remains at the fore after a series of issues, with near-term costs likely boosted by tighter implementation of controls and legal and regulatory risks to linger. The building of a capital cushion in 2Q eases some concerns, but knock-on revenue risks are key to the outlook.”
-- Alison Williams, Neil Sipes, BI senior analysts
-- Click here to read the research
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.