Credit Suisse faces another crisis following the resignation of Antonio Horta Osorio, chairman. This was due to Covid rule violations.

According to the Swiss banking group, the position of the 57 year-old was no longer viable after he had served nine months.

After it was revealed that he had broken British and Swiss Covid isolation rules, and used his company jet for holiday in the Maldives, Credit Suisse began to resent him.

Ousted: Credit Suisse said Horta-Osorio (pictured), who lasted just nine months as its chief exec, was stepping down as his position had become untenable

Credit Suisse: Horta Osorio (pictured), who was its chief executive for nine months, is stepping down because his position became untenable

The bank was seen being set back by revelations regarding his travel violations, even though Horta Osorio is supposed to have been cleaning up its reputation.

His missteps are the latest chapter of a series Credit Suisse scandals. He will now be held responsible by his successor Axel Lehmann.

A Swiss national, Lehmann, 63, joined Credit Suisse’s board last year from rival UBS and will continue Horta-Osorio’s attempts to restore the bank’s sullied reputation.

But as well as trying to shore up Credit Suisse’s governance and risk controls in the aftermath of the Greensill debacle and the Archegos crisis, Lehmann will have to boost morale and renew efforts to reshape the bank’s tarnished image in the wake of his predecessor’s missteps.

Credit Suisse joined Horta Osorio last summer to rebuild its crumbling reputation and improve its internal governance. 

A series of public disasters brought down the Swiss bank which is known for its discretion and privacy.

The spying scandal was where the former chief operating officer of the company paid private detectives for two ex-employees. 

The affair blasted open the usually staid world of Swiss private banking, as stories emerged of a cocktail party bust-up between Credit Suisse’s top brass and a car-chase around Zurich as the spies pursued their target. Chief executive Tidjane Thiam lost his job as a result.

Then there were the two crises of 2021 – Greensill and Archegos. Credit Suisse had funnelled billions of its clients’ money into loans arranged by Greensill Capital, the lender advised by David Cameron which collapsed and is still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Credit Suisse had also lent a substantial amount of money to hedge fund Archegos Capital Management, and lost billions when the firm’s bets turned sour.

While the bank was still reeling, it was slapped with £350million of penalties by regulators around the world for its historic involvement in the so-called ‘tuna bonds’ scandal.

Jaunt: Resentment towards Horta-Osorio grew after it emerged he broke British and Swiss Covid isolation rules and used a company jet to fly on holiday to the Maldives (pictured)

Jaunt. Ressentment toward Horta Osorio increased after it became clear that he had broken British and Swiss Covid isolation regulations and flown on holiday to Maldives with a company plane (pictured). 

Corrupt bankers at Credit Suisse were found to have taken multi-million pound kick-backs when they arranged loans for Mozambique’s government, designed to further the country’s fishing industry.

Horta Osorio, Credit Suisse’s chief financial officer was designated to stop the downward spiral in its share price. 

His decade with Lloyds Bank saw him credited for restoring the bank to private ownership after the government’s bailout during the financial crisis. 

Credit Suisse was instead in the news again for wrong reasons as Horta-Osorio assumed he was exempt from Covid travel restrictions.

The keen tennis fan traveled to England last summer for the Wimbledon finals. The plan was for him to be isolated from the world for 10 days. However, he decided to stay in SW19’s sunny stands. His breach of Britain’s Covid rules came just weeks after he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

In late November, he flew from London to Zurich and was supposed to isolate there for ten days under Switzerland’s Covid rules. But after just four days, he took the company’s private jet to the Iberian Peninsula.

One source close to the bank said its staff were finding Horta-Osorio’s hypocrisy increasingly hard to stomach, as they were being ‘lectured about their behaviour’ and having their bonuses slashed even as their new boss was breaching Covid rules. 

Horta-Osorio said he had chosen to resign because ‘a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally’.

He was due to receive £2.5million in cash for the year, and £1.2million in Credit Suisse shares. While he will already have received £1.9million in cash for the nine months he has worked so far, Credit Suisse said it was down to the board’s remuneration committee to decide whether he would get the remainder of his fees in cash and shares.

It isn’t the first time Horta-Osorio has found himself at the centre of a storm. In 2016 the father of three was forced to apologise to employees for an extra-marital affair, denying that he had used more than £3,000 of company expenses to woo his lover after the pair were pictured together during one of his business trips to Singapore.

He was also accused of failing to implement a scheme that was supposed to assist scores of small businesses customers, who had been victims of major fraud at HBOS’ Reading branch. This was then bought by Lloyds.

An ex-High Court judge, Linda Dobbs still investigates whether the Reading branch was properly investigated and how much Lloyds bosses knew.

Lloyds had been forced to make a payment for mistreating Sally Masterton who was a whistleblower and wrote a report that claimed certain HBOS executives were responsible.

Credit Suisse’s shake-up is a critical time for Horta Osorio.

Severin Schwan, lead independent director of Credit Suisse’s board, said: ‘We respect Antonio’s decision and owe him considerable thanks for his leadership in defining the new strategy, which we will continue to implement over the coming months and years.’

Horta-Osorio’s departure was welcomed by some investors. Switzerland’s Ethos Foundation, which votes on behalf of pension funds that own around 5 per cent of Credit Suisse’s shares, said the chairman must guarantee that ‘their activities and attitude are irreproachable’.

But David Herro, of Harris Associates, one of Credit Suisse’s top-five shareholders, said he was ‘speechless’ and ‘very disappointed’ to see Horta-Osorio go.

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