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Credit Suisse CEO Hires New Chief Of Staff; Proposes New NEDs

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 13 August 2021

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Besides the new chief of staff - a key role in helping the CEO carry out his job - the Swiss bank has proposed two new non-executive directors, both of whom bring important experience from the European banking industry.

Credit Suisse has appointed Christian Egli Kehrle as chief of staff reporting to CEO Thomas Gottstein, while the Swiss bank has also proposed elections for two non-executive directors, it said today.

Kehrle, who was finance chief of Neue Aargauer Bank for 18 months before Credit Suisse closed this subsidiary down as part of a restructuring last August, is in his new post according to his Linkedin profile. 

Prior to the Neue Aargauer role, he worked at Credit Suisse in various positions for more than 22 years. 

Kehrle will be working with the CEO – Thomas Gottstein – who has been CEO since 2020 and whose tenure coincided with tough times at the bank. Credit Suisse suffered losses from its exposure to Archegos Capital Management, the failed New York-based hedge fund (structured as a family office), and Greensill Capital, a London-based supply-chain finance business. A number of senior figures have come and gone in the wake of these losses, particularly in and around the risk management area. 

Separately, the bank today said that its board of directors had called an extraordinary general meeting to propose that Axel P Lehmann and Juan Colombas be elected as new non-executive members of the board. The EGM would be held on 1 October 2021.

Lehmann would be chair of the risk committee, succeeding Richard Meddings, who has been in post on an ad interim basis in addition to being chair of the audit committee.

“I am extremely pleased that Axel Lehmann and Juan Colombas have been nominated to join our board. With their deep experience in risk management and business leadership, and both with careers spanning approximately three decades in financial services, they will make an invaluable contribution as we shape the bank’s strategic realignment and enhance our culture of risk management and personal responsibility and accountability,” António Horta-Osório, chairman of Credit Suisse, said.

Lehmann was most recently a member of the group executive board of UBS, initially as group chief operating officer, then as president of personal and corporate banking and president of UBS Switzerland, positions he stepped down from as of 31 January 2021. 

Colombas has been a non-executive director and member of the audit and risk committees at ING Group since 2020. He has extensive financial services industry experience with expertise in digital transformation, banking and risk management, and cyber security. His long experience as an executive in retail and commercial banking in the UK and Europe includes his recent position as chief operating officer and previously chief risk officer at Lloyds Banking Group spanning from 2011 to 2020. Prior to that, he spent 25 years with Santander.

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