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Credit Suisse chairman denies reports of talks to replace CEO Gottstein

The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 24, 2021.
Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters

Credit Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann has denied reports that talks have taken place to explore replacing CEO Thomas Gottstein.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this month, citing sources close to the matter, that the Credit Suisse board had held early stage talks on potentially replacing Gottstein at the helm of the embattled Swiss lender, after a string of scandals and mishaps in recent years.

Asked directly about the reporting, Lehmann said: “They didn’t speak to me and I know that has not taken place, so it is wrong.”

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

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

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

“So in this regard, all the rumors and speculations — I have read them as well — it is rumors and speculations, and by the way, there are other investors that call me and say ‘Axel, make sure that you stabilize the company and don’t change all the wheels at the same time’.”

Gottstein was appointed CEO after the resignation of predecessor Tidjane Thiam in February 2020 following a protracted spying scandal.

Credit Suisse reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2022 and announced a management reshuffle as it struggles with litigation costs relating to the Archegos hedge fund collapse, along with the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

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