At a historic shareholder meeting in a 15,000 capacity ice hockey stadium in Zurich, Credit Suisse’s chair, Axel Lehmann, issued an emotional apology to its investors. The 167-year-old Swiss bank had been rescued by its rival UBS two weeks prior in a contentious takeover. After Lehmann and chief executive Ulrich Körner’s introductory speeches, investors were allowed to ask questions and express their frustrations.
Lehmann expressed his deep sorrow for not being able to stem the loss of trust in the bank over the years. Despite expecting around 2000 shareholders to attend the meeting, Lehmann acknowledged the pain felt by many of its clients, employees, and public due to the events of the past few weeks. Furthermore, Körner also accepted the disappointment from shareholders, as well as other stakeholders, though he highlighted the creation of something new as a result of the bank’s end of independence.
Credit Suisse is one of the oldest banking institutions in Switzerland and its roots can be seen throughout European history. Founded in 1856, it used to specialize in private banking, with approximately $1 trillion in assets under management. However, unlike rival banks, Credit Suisse struggled to manage resolution and redemption issues in recent years.
Axel Lehmann has been the chairman of Credit Suisse since 2019 and was previously the Chief Operating Officer of UBS Group AG. He holds a variety of qualifications including a Doctorate in law and an MBA from the University of Zurich. Lehmann’s main focus is to ensure sustainable financial and operational success while refining customer service, efficiency, as well as risk and accountability.