Horta-Osorio's broken promise the final straw at embittered Credit Suisse



By Oliver Hirt, Sumeet Chatterjee and John O'Donnell

ZURICH/FRANKFURT/HONG KONG, Jan 17 (Reuters) - After taking over as chairman of Credit Suisse, Antonio Horta-Osorio pledged to develop a culture of personal accountability at the Swiss bank following a string of scandals.

That promise ultimately sealed his fate as he was forced to resign Link after barely eight months in office for flouting coronavirus quarantine rules in both Britain and Switzerland.

It marked the end of his attempts to reform Switzerland's second-biggest bank, still dealing with the fallout from a slew of earlier failings Link from spying on executives to investment losses running into billions of dollars.

After resigning, Horta-Osorio expressed regret that his "personal actions ... compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally". His spokesperson said he would not be speaking to the media.

It was just days after promising to clean up the bank by creating a sense of responsibility that Horta-Osorio flew to London in a private jet to attend the Wimbledon tennis finals, breaking Link Britain's coronavirus quarantine rules in the process, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

When the breach came to light at the end of last year, Horta-Osorio had already been called out for a similar quarantine transgression in Switzerland and the bank was scouring his record for any other violations.

An internal investigation also looked at the Portuguese banker's use of company jets. He had directed a corporate plane to drop him off in the Maldives on the way back from a business trip in Asia, two people familiar with the matter said.

The episodes strengthened the hand of senior managers bristling at what they saw as his interference in strategy, making it all but impossible for the chairman to prevail in a tug-of-war with executives at the bank he had been brought in to overhaul.

UNFORGIVING BACKDROP

Horta-Osorio explained his Wimbledon lapse by saying he was unaware he had failed to get the business waiver for British rules his office had asked for, laying the blame on staff who he said did not inform him, one of the people said.

He had intended to take Credit Suisse clients to the tennis tournament and then gave two tickets to his children when customers bowed out due to the pandemic, the person said.

But his defence, coming in the wake of a public apology in December for breaking Swiss quarantine rules, fell flat.

The breaches took place against an unforgiving backdrop of growing hostility among Credit Suisse's senior executives, many of whom resented the chairman's efforts to reform, people familiar with the matter said.

Horta-Osorio suspected details of his transgressions were leaked by people in that group, said one of those people, describing "antipathy" towards him within the bank. One person said the chairman had been at "war" with key members of the executive board.

Credit Suisse declined to comment on whether there were rifts between the former chairman and the executive board, including Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein. The bank has not published its investigation into Horta-Osorio.

Another person who attends the bank's high-level meetings said Horta-Osorio, unlike his predecessor Urs Rohner, had questioned executives closely when they gathered every quarter to review the bank's performance.

During discussions with management about the second quarter of last year, he persevered with pointed questions about the wealth management business and growth projections, asking to see the data on which the forecasts were made, one source said.

"There were quite a few red faces," the person said.

He said many senior employees were unhappy with Horta-Osorio's attempts to make the board of directors more powerful at the expense of executives.

'ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN'

As well as burning bridges with top bankers, the quarantine breaches prompted widespread criticism of the Portuguese banker in Switzerland, where Credit Suisse is regulated and where one in three of 49,000 staff work.

One of the people who spoke to Reuters said Horta-Osorio had been taken aback by the hostility he encountered while in Switzerland.

Horta-Osorio's abrupt departure now leaves a question mark over the bank, as its stock price continues to dwindle and amid renewed speculation that it could become a takeover target for its stronger neighbour UBS UBSG.S , or a foreign bank.

David Herro of Harris Associates, one of the bank's largest shareholders, had backed Horta-Osorio even after the quarantine transgressions came to light Link describing his role in turning the bank around as an important reason to invest.

"There is an orchestrated campaign because there are constituents who don't want to see a strong rebounding Credit Suisse," he told Reuters before the resignation, adding that Swiss media had been kinder to his Swiss predecessor.

In recent days, Horta-Osorio had tried to salvage the situation, said one person.

He had successfully battled through a similar embarrassment as chief executive of Britain's Lloyds Bank LLOY.L after a newspaper reported that he was having an extra-marital affair while travelling on business.

In an email sent to Lloyds staff in 2016, Horta-Osorio made clear he had not breached the bank's rules by mixing business with personal expenses, and showed contrition.

"Having the highest professional standards raises the bar against which we are judged," he wrote. "I don't expect anyone to get everything right all the time. The important point being how we learn from those mistakes."

In Switzerland, his apologies rang hollow.



Credit Suisse faces more upheaval after chairman's sudden exit

Top Credit Suisse investor Harris '100% supportive' of chairman

EXCLUSIVE-Credit Suisse finds second breach of COVID-19 rules by
chairman - sources



Additional reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Mike Shields in Zurich and Simon Jessop in London, Writing By John O'Donnell; Editing by David Clarke

면책조항: XM Group 회사는 체결 전용 서비스와 온라인 거래 플랫폼에 대한 접근을 제공하여, 개인이 웹사이트에서 또는 웹사이트를 통해 이용 가능한 콘텐츠를 보거나 사용할 수 있도록 허용합니다. 이에 대해 변경하거나 확장할 의도는 없습니다. 이러한 접근 및 사용에는 다음 사항이 항상 적용됩니다: (i) 이용 약관, (ii) 위험 경고, (iii) 완전 면책조항. 따라서, 이러한 콘텐츠는 일반적인 정보에 불과합니다. 특히, 온라인 거래 플랫폼의 콘텐츠는 금융 시장에서의 거래에 대한 권유나 제안이 아닙니다. 금융 시장에서의 거래는 자본에 상당한 위험을 수반합니다.

온라인 거래 플랫폼에 공개된 모든 자료는 교육/정보 목적으로만 제공되며, 금융, 투자세 또는 거래 조언 및 권고, 거래 가격 기록, 금융 상품 또는 원치 않는 금융 프로모션의 거래 제안 또는 권유를 포함하지 않으며, 포함해서도 안됩니다.

이 웹사이트에 포함된 모든 의견, 뉴스, 리서치, 분석, 가격, 기타 정보 또는 제3자 사이트에 대한 링크와 같이 XM이 준비하는 콘텐츠 뿐만 아니라, 제3자 콘텐츠는 일반 시장 논평으로서 "현재" 기준으로 제공되며, 투자 조언으로 여겨지지 않습니다. 모든 콘텐츠가 투자 리서치로 해석되는 경우, 투자 리서치의 독립성을 촉진하기 위해 고안된 법적 요건에 따라 콘텐츠가 의도되지 않았으며, 준비되지 않았다는 점을 인지하고 동의해야 합니다. 따라서, 관련 법률 및 규정에 따른 마케팅 커뮤니케이션이라고 간주됩니다. 여기에서 접근할 수 있는 앞서 언급한 정보에 대한 비독립 투자 리서치 및 위험 경고 알림을 읽고, 이해하시기 바랍니다.

우리는 웹사이트에서 최고의 경험을 전해드리기 위해 쿠키를 사용하고 있습니다. 자세히 읽거나 쿠키 설정을 변경하세요.

리스크 경고: 고객님의 자본이 위험에 노출 될 수 있습니다. 레버리지 상품은 모든 분들에게 적합하지 않을수 있습니다. 당사의 리스크 공시를 참고하시기 바랍니다.