Ulrich Koerner is anticipated to be named as the new CEO of Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), the latest management change at the Swiss bank as it fights to recover from a string of crises, according to two persons with knowledge of the matter on Tuesday.
Outgoing CEO Thomas Gottstein has been under increasing pressure for months due to significant scandals and losses accrued during his two-year term that have depressed shares and enraged investors. Some investors had requested Gottstein’s replacement in recent months, but the bank refused.
According to the Financial Times, another top executive, Christian Meissner, who oversees the lender’s investment bank, also intends to depart the organisation.
According to one of the sources, the bank was planning to unveil the new CEO including its quarterly reports on Wednesday.
Credit Suisse chose not to respond. Our inquiries for comment from Meissner were not answered.
Again for the bank, which was recuperating from an internal espionage controversy that endangered the CEO before the current person—Tidjane Thiam his job, Gottstein promised a fresh start when he assumed leadership in 2020.
The stock has fallen by almost 60% since Thiam resigned in February 2020, and the bank’s problems have only gotten worse since then. The bankruptcy of the American investment company Archegos and the failure of financial management funds with a combined value of $10 billion caused the bank to report a $5.5 billion loss in 2021. The incidents triggered management changes, inquiries, and a capital increase. These actions were followed by additional losses and new legal disputes.
In April 2021, Credit Suisse hired Koerner to head its newly formed asset management division in the wake of the failure of $10 billion in supply chain finance funds connected to bankrupt financier Greensill Capital.
Koerner left formidable rival UBS, where he very recently worked as the CEO’s advisor from 2019 to 2020, and came back to Credit Suisse. From 2014 to 2019, he oversaw UBS Asset Management. Koerner oversaw the Swiss division of Credit Suisse Wealth Management as a former senior executive.
In Switzerland, Koerner, a former McKinsey employee, is regarded as an authority in restructuring.
However, the hiring would follow other significant European banks where there has been a dearth of diversity at the top. Per a survey of senior industry roles, the 25 biggest banks by revenues have had 22 changes in the chief executive and chairperson during the past two years. Of those 22, 21 were held by men.
This spring, after Artisan Partners, the bank’s ninth-place shareholder, made a public push for Gottstein to be replaced, Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann restated his support for him.
In an interview with CNBC, while attending the WEF—or the World Economic Forum in Davos, Lehmann stated that he had his complete support due to his abilities. He rejected rumours that Gottstein might be leaving as gossip and conjecture.
Days after Swiss tabloid SonntagsZeitung reported that the bank is mulling more cost-cutting measures, the WSJ previously indicated that Gottstein might soon be replaced. This is a crucial period of time for Credit Suisse, which had unfortunately developed a track record of making headlines in tabloids for well over a year now, thanks to one scandal after the other. The most recent controversy was over the Bulgarian money-laundering group that they had to face off against via a court scenario. If the promising new CEO-elect manages to fulfill his role well, the bank may be able to recover from the chains of scandals tarnishing its name.