Horta-Osório resigns as Credit Suisse chairman over Covid violations – Archyde

António Horta-Osório has resigned as Chairman of Credit Suisse following an investigation by the Board of Directors violate the quarantine rules of the coronavirus more than once.

The former chief executive of Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group had been in office for just eight months and had pledged to restore the Swiss bank’s reputation after a string of high-profile scandals.

But Horta-Osório’s personal behavior was Subject to investigation at board level Late last year after he was found to have broken quarantine rules on at least two occasions.

After the report was finalized, Horta-Osório held discussions with the bank’s board over the weekend about its decision to quit, according to a person briefed on the talks.

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

Axel Lehmann, former Chief Operating Officer and head of UBS’s Swiss operations, has been appointed as the new President of Credit Suisse. He joined the bank’s board of directors last October.

“By executing our strategic plan in a timely and disciplined manner without distractions, I am confident that Credit Suisse will demonstrate the renewed strength and business focus needed to create sustainable value for all of our stakeholders,” said Lehmann.

Horta-Osório was found to have broken the UK quarantine rules when he flew to London and subsequently watched the Wimbledon tennis final on July 10-11 and was required to isolate himself for 10 days on arrival.

In a later incident, Horta-Osório broke Swiss Covid-19 rules by flying in and out of the country within three days. He had traveled from London to Zurich on November 28, shortly after a 10-day quarantine requirement had been introduced in Switzerland following the identification of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Horta-Osório apologized for the “mistake” and described the breach as “unintentional”.

However, Swiss newspaper Blick reported that he first sought exemptions from both the local canton and the federal government, but was told he would not be given special treatment and would have to isolate for the full 10 days.

Credit Suisse was ransacked twin scandals involving Greensill Capital and family office Archegos in the weeks leading up to Horta-Osório’s appointment as chairman last April.

Since assuming the position, the Portuguese banker, who was knighted in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday last June, has spoken of his “commitment to developing a culture of personal responsibility and accountability” at the bank.

But the negative publicity surrounding his Covid violations drew attention away a strategic review he announced in November.

“The most important thing this bank needs is for it to be quiet,” said a Credit Suisse executive. “What happened around him wasn’t helpful.”


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