Credit Suisse's new chairman vowed to focus on risk management, strategy and culture as the banking group continues to deal with the fallout of its relationships with Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital.
Antonio Horta-Osorio, who was voted in as chairman at Friday's annual general meeting, said the situations with family office Archegos and its supply chain finance funds "certainly goes beyond" any experience he has had in the finance world.
The bank liquidated more than $10 billion in supply chain finance funds early last month, due to valuation uncertainties and insurance issues related to assets originated and structured by now-collapsed Greensill. It has also taken a 4.4 billion swiss francs ($4.8 billion) hit — with a potential further 600 million francs charge — in relation to Archegos' failure to meet margin commitments late last month.
"Any company that has been around as long as this company will have experienced its fair share of ups and downs," Mr. Horta-Osorio, former group CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, told shareholders at the AGM, according to a speech published on Credit Suisse's website. "Indeed, over three-and-a-half decades, I have personally worked at and led several banks in different countries and have lived through many crises. What has happened with Credit Suisse over the last eight weeks, with the U.S.-based hedge fund and the supply chain finance funds matters, certainly goes beyond that."
He said important lessons must be learned with decisions made accordingly and in a transparent, thoughtful and decisive way. He will focus over the coming months on risk management — with current and potential risks at the firm needing to be "a matter of immediate and close scrutiny," he said; strategy, with an in-depth assessment of the bank's strategic options; and culture, since "a series of set-backs has been holding us back and we need to reflect on what led us to the issues we face today."
"It is my firm ambition and determination," Mr. Horta-Osorio said, "to listen into the organization and to engage in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in order to get a deep understanding of our strengths and weaknesses."
The firm has already made a number of moves in efforts to address the impact of the Archegos and Greensill situations, including a number of senior personnel changes and splitting its money management unit into a separate division.
Ahead of the meeting, Credit Suisse said Andreas Gottschling, chairman of the risk committee, would not stand for re-election. This week, shareholders, including Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the assets of the Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, said it would vote against the re-election of the six-person risk committee due to the Archegos and Greensill scandals.
Richard Meddings, already a member of the committee, was named on Credit Suisse's website as interim risk committee chairman. Mr. Meddings is also chairman of the audit committee and a member of the sustainability advisory, governance and nominations, and conduct and financial crime control committees.
Spokesmen could not be reached for information on plans to appoint a permanent chairman of the risk committee.