Credit Suisse risk chief to step down ahead of AGM

Credit Suisse risk chief to step down ahead of AGM

The head of Credit Suisse’s risk committee is to step down ahead of a threatened shareholder rebellion at the bank’s annual general meeting on Friday.

Andreas Gottschling has become the latest senior figure to depart from the Swiss bank as it reels from the twin crises at Greensill and Archegos Capital.

The lender’s share price has fallen by more than a quarter since March, as billions in losses for Credit Suisse and its clients linked to the two scandals have been unveiled.

Credit Suisse’s board has already removed Lara Warner, chief risk and compliance officer, Brian Chin, the head of its investment bank, and several mid-level risk managers and traders responsible for the losses.

In a short regulatory announcement on Friday, Credit Suisse said Gottschling would not be standing for re-election. The bank declined to comment further.

The collapse of Archegos alone — a family office that borrowed billions from unwary banks to boost its returns — forced Credit Suisse to declare a SFr4.4bn loss last week and instigate an emergency SFr1.7bn capital raising.

In March, the bank froze $10bn in supply chain finance funds linked to the now collapsed lender, Greensill Capital. Total losses from the funds are expected to be about $1.5bn. Clients of the bank are already preparing legal action.

The crises have capped a torrid year for Credit Suisse, following the departure of its former chief executive Tidjane Thiam, who resigned last February in the wake of a corporate spying scandal and a boardroom feud with chair Urs Rohner.

Rohner is due to be replaced at Credit Suisse’s AGM on Friday by António Horta-Osório, the Portuguese banker and former chief executive of the UK’s Lloyds Banking Group.

The Financial Times revealed this week that several of Credit Suisse’s biggest shareholders were preparing to vote against Gottschling’s re-election as a director of the bank.

David Herro, vice-chair of Harris Associates, which owns just over 10 per cent of the bank, told the FT he was surprised Gottschling had not resigned already. Herro has been a vocal critic of the board’s steering of Credit Suisse since Thiam’s departure.

Last week, influential proxy adviser Glass Lewis advised shareholders to vote against Gottschling.

It said the Greensill and Archegos scandals “cast significant doubt on the efficacy of the board’s oversight of the company’s risk and control framework . . . Gottschling holds ultimate accountability”.

Gottschling — a 53-year-old German who has served as chair of the risk committee since 2018, earning a $1m annual fee — is also a director at Deutsche Börse and the former chief risk officer of Erste Bank.

As a director and the head of Credit Suisse’s risk committee, he was closely involved in the handling of the Archegos and Greensill crises.

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