Credit Suisse’s departing chairman issues a rare apology

Credit Suisse’s departing chairman issues a rare apology as he signs off at the scandal-stricken bank

Credit Suisse’s departing chairman issued a rare apology as he signed off at the scandal-stricken bank. 

Urs Rohner, who has overseen a string of disasters at the Swiss lender in recent months, handed over to former Lloyds Bank boss Antonio Horta-Osorio yesterday. 

Speaking at the annual general meeting, Rohner offered a mea culpa for presiding over the Archegos Capital implosion and the Greensill Capital disaster – which have both blown a hole in Credit Suisse’s finances. 

Apology: Urs Rohner (pictured) handed over to former Lloyds Bank boss Antonio Horta-Osorio

Apology: Urs Rohner (pictured) handed over to former Lloyds Bank boss Antonio Horta-Osorio

He said: ‘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. 

‘We’ve disappointed not just our clients but also our shareholders, and not for the first time unfortunately. I offer my apologies for this.’ 

Rohner, a former lawyer who has been chairman of Credit Suisse for a decade, had initially managed to cling on during a turbulent time for the bank last year. 

Shareholders attempted to oust the Swiss businessman in the wake of a spying scandal in 2020, after it emerged that the lender had hired private detectives to follow former staff. 

The debacle – which involved a high-profile row between top bosses at a cocktail party and a Zurich car chase – eventually resulted with the ousting of then boss Tidjane Thiam. 

Thiam’s replacement Thomas Gottstein will be joined by Horta-Osorio as the pair attempt to get Credit Suisse back on the straight and narrow. 

Horta-Osorio said what had happened at Credit Suisse over the past eight weeks went ‘beyond’ anything he had seen in his 30-year career. His appointment to the board came as the bank’s risk committee head Andreas Gottschling agreed to step down, after shareholders threatened to vote him out following the Greensill and Archegos meltdowns. 

The lender is facing serious questions over its risk management, after it took a £3.9billion hit from Archegos and still owes millions to clients who were exposed to Greensill. 

Archegos, a hedge fund which managed the money of financier Bill Hwang, had borrowed money from several major banks so it could buy larger stakes in companies. When shares began to fall, Archegos fell into trouble – leaving lenders including Credit Suisse nursing heavy losses. 

Greensill packaged up the loans it gave to customers and sold them on to investors through Credit Suisse funds. Now Greensill has gone bust, Credit Suisse is trying to get its clients’ money back.