Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein is set to leave the bank. His departure marks the end of the tumultuous period in the banks history. This change comes at peculiar time but Credit Suisse has found a replacement.
Ulrich Koerner is going to step in as replacement CEO. He is the head of the asset management business and couple of years ago was head of the asset management business at UBS. He is Swiss national and seen as a safe bet for this position. Zurich based Credit Suisse had informed investors last month that it was predicting a third straight quarterly loss. The company board had meetings to replace Gottstein as far back as May 2022.
Thomas Gottstein presided over a lot of drama at Credit Suisse and his departure doesn’t come as a surprise. However, the timing of his departure is strange because Credit Suisse is currently looking for a chief financial officer, the chairman had joined just six months back. Therefore there is a relatively new executive team and board and there is lot of change everywhere. So for the CEO to be leaving at this time highlights the desperation and chaos going on at Credit Suisse.
Gottstein was thrust in to this role at a time when his predecessor left under a cloud. He became CEO when Switzerland entered lockdown and last year was proved to be a disastrous year for the bank. A succession of scandals two in particular; the collapse of $10 billion in supply-chain finance funds linked to Greensill Capital and a $5.5 billion hit related to the implosion of Archegos Capital Management. These scandals will be a part of his legacy even though he wasn’t personally at fault in those deals.
Gottstein tried to address these scandals head on but it did mean that there was hardly a week without negative news around the bank. His legacy will be that he was the CEO during the worst period in the bank’s history.