JANUARY 17, 2022
Credit Suisse’s chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio resigned on Monday following an investigation by the Swiss bank’s board into his personal conduct.
He will be replaced by Axel Lehmann, who joined the Credit Suisse board in October to head its risk committee following a series of scandals.
Here are five facts about Lehmann.
Lehmann, 62, joined Credit Suisse’s board in October 2021 to become head of its Risk Committee. He moved from UBS, the Swiss lender which has enjoyed a relatively better recent history than its cross-town rival.
Lehmann served on UBS’s board from 2009 to 2015 before joining its executive ranks. In 2016 he was appointed UBS’s chief operating officer, a post he held for two years before becoming jointly president of Personal and Corporate Banking and president of UBS Switzerland between 2018 and 2021.
Prior to UBS Lehmann enjoyed a 20-year career in the insurance industry, working briefly at Swiss Life before holding a series of top jobs at Zurich. He was chief executive of the insurer’s European and then the North American businesses before becoming Zurich’s chief risk officer between 2009 and 2015.
Lehmann was drafted in to Credit Suisse to get its risk management back on course, but his interest in digital may also be tapped by the bank.
Whilst at UBS he helped establish “digital factories” in Zurich to develop and roll out new online platforms for its clients globally.
He also announced early last year that UBS was to close one in five of its bank branches in Switzerland, as the pandemic shifted the acceleration to online banking.
Lehmann is a Swiss citizen, meaning the lender is breaking a tradition that either its chief executive or chairman is a foreign national, since CEO Thomas Gottstein also comes from Switzerland.
Lehmann is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland where he also gained his PhD.
Lehmann indicated he is unlikely to ask the bank to change the turnaround course set by Horta-Osorio or Gottstein.
“The strategy is not under discussion,” Lehmann told Reuters on Monday, adding that Gottstein was “absolutely central” to the bank.