The chairman of Credit Suisse Group was replaced today, one and a half months after breaking COVID-19 quarantine rules - he had entered Switzerland on 28 November last year, been informed that he was required to serve the full 10-day quarantine period, and then promptly turned around and flew out on a private jet on 1 December. He subsequently reported the breach to Swiss authorities, and called it "unintentional" in his apology.
In an ad hoc announcement of the replacement, Credit Suisse said that António Horta-Osório resigned with immediate effect following a board-commissioned investigation into the December incident. That investigation had also turned up an earlier breach. In July he slipped UK quarantine rules to attend the Wimbledon tennis finals, according to a Reuters report. Ironically in view of later developments, the biggest draw of Wimbledon 2021 was world champion Novak Djokovic - who has just been deported from Australia over a COVID quarrel - successfully defending his title.
Horta-Osório was appointed chairman in April 2021, becoming the first non-Swiss chairman in the history of Credit Suisse, and for the last 9 months had the unenviable task of steering the bank through a rocky year that included the Archegos disaster - which lost the bank billions - and the still lingering aftermath of its 2019 spying scandal.
The Credit Suisse board has appointed Axel P. Lehmann as the new chairman, also with immediate effect. Lehmann joined the board last October and has a long career in finance, having held senior group leadership roles at UBS Group and Zurich Insurance Group. His appointment will be formally proposed at the next annual general meeting in April.