Credit Suisse CFO, head of Asia to step down in latest overhaul amid Q1 loss

The bank on Wednesday posted a 273 million Swiss franc (S$390.5 million) first-quarter loss. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Credit Suisse Group said a raft of longstanding top executives are stepping down in the latest management overhaul as the Swiss bank seeks to move past a string of scandals and profit warnings.

Chairman Axel Lehmann is making his first major personnel changes since taking over. The bank has been trying to reform its risk management culture and turn the page on the scandals, which have prompted multiple rounds of top management shake-ups, abrupt departures and internal and external probes.

Chief financial officer David Mathers will be leaving the bank once a replacement has been found, while Singapore-based Edwin Low takes over as head for the Asia-Pacific region from current chief Helman Sitohang, who is staying on as a senior adviser.

Former UBS Group top lawyer Markus Diethelm will be the new chief legal officer, replacing Mr Romeo Cerutti, who will retire, according to a statement on Wednesday (April 27).

The bank also said Ms Francesca McDonagh will become chief executive of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region in October. That position had been held by wealth head Francesco de Ferrari on an interim basis.

The latest overhaul culminates a near complete dismantling of the management board that CEO Thomas Gottstein inherited more than two years ago, with about half the executives pushed out after the Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital scandals.

Several longstanding directors also recently decided to not stand for re-election after coming under pressure from major shareholders including Mr David Herro of Harris Associates.

The bank on Wednesday posted a 273 million Swiss franc (S$390.5 million) first-quarter loss, which was steeper than the 252 million franc loss it posted a year before.

The first-quarter loss, on the back of a 703 million franc increase in litigation expenses, heaps further pressure on Switzerland's second-biggest bank, which is still reeling from billions in losses racked up last year and as shareholder pushback grows over what has been described as a freewheeling culture.

Credit Suisse is struggling to emerge from a losing streak that includes five profit warnings in the past six quarters and the biggest losses among Wall Street peers after the Archegos implosion saddled it with about US$5.5 billion (S$7.58 billion) of losses.

The bank has also raised the ire of some investors who are calling for more disclosure on the collapse of a group of supply chain finance funds the bank ran with Greensill.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, one of the largest shareholders in Credit Suisse, seven Swiss pension funds and the Ethos Foundation, a shareholder adviser, are calling for more transparency.

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