The chairman of the international bank Credit Suisse has resigned from his position after an investigation found him guilty of violating COVID-19 quarantine rules. The bank announced the resignation of Antonio Horta-Osorio on Monday, raising concerns about Credit Suisse's direction as it attempts to recover from a series of financial scandals it had been involved in over the past few years.
Horta-Osorio was brought on board as the bank's chairman just last year. He was tasked with cleaning up the bank's reputation, which was tarnished due to its involvement in the collapse of the investment company Archegos and supply chain finance company Greensill Capital. The collapse of the hedge funds resulted in billions of dollars in losses for Credit Suisse.
In February 2020, the bank's then-chief executive officer, Tidjane Thiam, also resigned after an investigation found that the bank had been spying on its senior employees. Thiam had denied that he was aware the bank was conducting spying operations.
The announcement of his resignation just nine months after he was brought on board comes after the conclusion of an internal investigation, which found him guilty of breaching the bank's COVID-19 quarantine rules twice last year. The investigation was reportedly commissioned by the bank's board of directors.
In a personal statement released by Switzerland's second-largest bank, Horta-Osorio said that he regretted how his personal actions had caused problems for the bank. He acknowledged that his failings have now made it difficult for his to represent the bank both internally and externally. Horta-Osorio said that his resignation will be in the best interest of the bank and its stakeholders.
Sources with knowledge in the matter said Horta-Osorio first broke quarantine rules when he attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in London in July without adhering to the UK's quarantine protocols. In November, Horta-Osorio broke COVID-19 rules again after he visited Switzerland and then left the country within his mandatory 10-day quarantine period.
Credit Suisse said board member Axel Lehmann will be taking over as the bank's chairman "with immediate effect." The bank said it would continue to implement the turnaround strategy it had originally announced back in November, which was aimed at curbing its overly relaxed working culture.
Before he worked with Credit Suisse, Lehmann spent more than 10 years at rival UBS in various positions. One of his roles at UBS was heading the bank's personal and corporate banking unit. Prior to UBS, Lehmann had worked at Zurich Insurance Group for nearly two decades.