Antonio Horta-Osorio, Credit Suisse’s chairman resigns

In a statement Credit Suisse said, its chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has resigned after flouting COVID-19 quarantine rules.

The development raises questions over the bank’s new lending strategy as it tries to recover from a string of scandals.

Incidentally, Horta-Osorio became the lending giant’s chairman to clean up its corporate culture which has been marred by its involvement with collapsed investment firm Archegos and insolvent supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital.

However, Horta-Osorio’s personal conduct has come under scrutiny following reports that he breached COVID-19 quarantine rules twice last year.

“I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally,” said Horta-Osorio in a statement. “I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time”.

Credit Suisse said Horta-Osorio resigned after its board commissioned an investigation into the matter.

In December 2021 there have been media reports of a preliminary internal investigation by the bank which found that Horta-Osorio had attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in London in July 2021 without following Britain’s quarantine rules.

In December, Credit Suisse had also said, Horta-Osorio had broken COVID-19 rules following a visit to Switzerland in November by leaving the country during a 10-day quarantine period.

In late December, David Herro, deputy chairman at Harris, the third biggest investor in Credit Suisse, said Horta-Osorio retained his absolute support.

In November 2021, Credit Suisse had announced a new strategy aimed at curbing a freewheeling culture that has cost it billions, said Axel Lehmann, a board member who had taken over as chairman with immediate effect.

Credit Suisse said, Lehmann, the board and the executive board would continue to implement Credit Suisse’s strategy.

Lehmann spent over a decade at rival UBS where his roles included helming the Swiss personal and corporate banking unit of the bank after a nearly two decade stint at Zurich Insurance Group.

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