Credit Suisse set to name Ulrich Körner as chief executive


Credit Suisse is set to appoint Ulrich Körner as its new chief executive, taking over from Thomas Gottstein, whose departure will bring an end to one of the most tumultuous periods in the Swiss bank’s 166-year history.

The appointment of Körner, who is head of the bank’s asset management division, is expected to be announced on Wednesday morning when the bank reports its second-quarter results, according to four people with knowledge of the plans.

Christian Meissner, who has been head of the lender’s investment bank, is also planning to leave the group, having joined just over a year ago. But his departure will not be announced on Wednesday, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Körner joined Credit Suisse in March last year, having previously worked at UBS where he ran the bank’s asset management business.

Gottstein took over as chief executive of Credit Suisse in February 2020, just weeks before Switzerland was forced into coronavirus lockdown. His departure was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The 58-year-old’s time as chief executive was blighted by twin crises surrounding the collapse of specialist finance firm Greensill Capital and family office Archegos within weeks of each other in spring last year. It was punctured by a string of historical scandals that caused the bank’s share price to hit a three-decade low this month.

The implosion of Greensill forced Credit Suisse to close a $10bn suite of investment funds, while the bank suffered a $5.5bn trading loss when Archegos crashed.

Thomas Gottstein was appointed in 2020 after a highly embarrassing corporate espionage scandal prompted Tidjane Thiam’s abrupt departure © Reuters

Gottstein became chief executive after a highly embarrassing corporate espionage scandal caused the abrupt departure of predecessor Tidjane Thiam.

A surprise choice, Gottstein was widely regarded as a safe pair of hands who would steady the ship after the untimely ousting of Thiam.

At the time, he led the lender’s domestic business and had previously worked his way up through the investment bank.

During his tenure as chief executive, Gottstein oversaw a complete overhaul of the executive team. The bank is looking for a new chief financial officer, with David Mathers due to depart later this year.

The bank’s board has also been revamped, with Gottstein serving under three different chairs. He was appointed by Urs Rohner, who left after 10 years at the helm last year.

Rohner was replaced by former Lloyds Banking Group chief executive António Horta-Osório, who was forced out of the bank after just nine months following disputes with his fellow board members and being caught breaching Covid-19 quarantine rules.

Former UBS executive Axel Lehmann took over as chair in January, having joined the board only a few months earlier.

Credit Suisse is expected to report its third straight quarterly loss on Wednesday morning, having already issued a profit warningits third of the year.

The bank is under pressure to cut costs after a pullback in risk-taking last year and retreat from some business lines following the Greensill and Archegos scandals. Gottstein has described 2022 as a transition year.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.



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