Credit Suisse chairman denies reports of talks to replace CEO Gottstein

The Swiss Bank Credit Swiss logo was unveiled on March 24, 2021 at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

Arnd Wigman Reuters

Axel Lehmann, chairman of Credit Suisse, has denied reports that he is in talks to replace CEO Thomas Gottstein.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News quoted a source close to the matter as saying that the Credit Suisse board had discussed Gotstein’s replacement at an early stage, led by a potential Swiss lender, following a series of scandals and accidents in recent years.

Asked directly about the reporting, Lehmann said: “They didn’t talk to me and I know it didn’t happen, so it’s wrong.”

Credit Suisse’s ninth-largest shareholder, Artisan Partners, has called on the company to hire a new CEO, Reuters reported last week.

However, speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, Lehmann said he fully supports Gottstein “because he is good.”

“This is a very challenging situation for the company, but we have a clear plan, we are implementing that plan, so we are basically rebuilding the company,” Lehmann said.

“So in this regard, all the rumors and speculations – I’ve read them too – are rumors and speculation, and anyway, other investors call me and say ‘Axel, make sure you stabilize the company and not change all the wheels at the same time’.”

Gottstein was appointed CEO in February 2020 following the resignation of his predecessor Tidgen Thiem following a lengthy espionage scandal.

Credit Suisse reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2022 and announced a management reshuffle as it fought the costs of lawsuits related to the collapse of the Archegos hedge fund following the Ukraine war.

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