Credit Suisse Chairman Says Sorry for Losses as He Exits
(Bloomberg) -- In his last words as Credit Suisse Group AG Chairman, Urs Rohner apologized.
Eight weeks after the Swiss bank entered one of the most turbulent periods in its history, the its outgoing chairman on Friday offered a mea culpa for the financial hits from the collapse of Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital.
“The inexcusable losses that we have had to inform you about in recent weeks have cast a shadow over all the other strategic and operating developments in our company in the last years,” Rohner said at the bank’s annual general meeting on Friday. “We’ve disappointed not just our clients but also our shareholders, and not for the first time unfortunately. I offer my apologies for this.”
It was a downbeat exit for the former M&A lawyer who leaves Credit Suisse having survived an attempt by a group of shareholders to oust him last year in the wake of a spying scandal. The bank’s shares have fallen by 73% since Rohner took over a decade ago, while shares of biggest rival UBS dropped 19% over the same period.
Incoming chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio said the recent missteps at the Swiss lender went beyond any crises he had seen working at banks over three-and-a-half decades. He said he plans a thorough assessment of the bank’s “strategic options” after the twin hits from the collapse of Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital eroded confidence.
Risk committee head Andreas Gottschling earlier Friday stepped down from his role after prominent investors indicated they’d vote to oust him following the $5.5 billion hit from the meltdown of Archegos.
Credit Suisse was hit harder than any other competitor by the collapse of Archegos, the family office of U.S. investor Bill Hwang. The timing of the blowup could hardly have been worse, coming just weeks after Credit Suisse found itself at the center of the Greensill Capital scandal, in which it was forced to suspend investment funds.
“I particularly regret leaving the bank amid these difficult circumstances and I know of course that many of our employees are disappointed and angry,” Rohner said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.