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World: Head of Credit Suisse resigns over Covid rules breach

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Credit Suisse announced big revamp in November. SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has quit following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of COVID -19 rules , raising questions over the embattled lender's new strategy as it tries to recover from a string of scandals. His exit comes less than a year after he was hired to help the bank deal with the implosion of collapsed investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greenshill Capital

SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has quit following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of COVID -19 rules , raising questions over the embattled lender's new strategy as it tries to recover from a string of scandals. While Horta was responsible for the new strategy, his short tenure means that the revamp is likely to only be in the nascent stages," said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at investment adviser United First Partners in Singapore. "The irony of it is that Horta was hired to fix the reputational damage to Credit Suisse

The head of Credit Suisse has resigned less than a year after taking the reins of the scandal-hit bank following reports that he had broken Covid quarantine rules.

Credit Suisse's now former chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, had vowed to tackle risk at the scandal-plagued bank © Justin TALLIS Credit Suisse's now former chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, had vowed to tackle risk at the scandal-plagued bank

Antonio Horta-Osorio's resignation was effective immediately following an investigation commissioned by the board, Switzerland's second-largest bank said in a statement released Monday.

Board of directors member Axel Lehmann was appointed to take his place.

"I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally," Horta-Osorio said in the statement.

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António Horta-Osório has resigned as chair of Credit Suisse after a board investigation found that he had breached coronavirus quarantine rules more than once. The former chief executive of UK-based Lloyds Banking Group had been in the post for just eight months and had promised to restore the At the time, Switzerland was on the UK’s “amber” list of nations facing restrictions, with travellers required to isolate for 10 days on arrival. In a later incident, Horta-Osório broke Swiss Covid rules when he flew in and out of the country within three days. He had travelled from London to Zurich on November 28

SINGAPORE - Credit Suisse Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio, who was being investigated by the bank’s board for breaching COVID -19 quarantine rules , has quit with immediate effect and board member Axel Lehmann has taken over the role. Horta-Osorio’s resignation comes less than a year after he “I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time.” In late December, Reuters reported in an exclusive story that a preliminary investigation by Credit Suisse found that Horta-Osorio breached COVID -19 rules a second time.

"I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time."

Credit Suisse confirmed last month that Horta-Osorio had violated quarantine rules following a report by Swiss tabloid Blick.

Switzerland tightened conditions to enter or return to the country in late November following the emergence of the highly-contagious Omicron variant.

Blick reported in December that Horta-Osorio had travelled to Switzerland from Britain aboard a private jet after the UK was placed on a list of countries bound by quarantine rules.

After arriving at his home, Horta-Osorio asked if he could be released from isolation or if the measure could be shortened for him, the newspaper said.

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(Reuters) - Credit Suisse Group AG said on Monday its chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has resigned following an investigation commissioned by the board. Switzerland's second-largest bank has appointed Axel Lehmann as its new chairman effective immediately, it said in a statement. In December, a preliminary investigation by Credit Suisse found that Horta-Osorio attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in July during a visit to Britain when the country's COVID -19 rules required him to be in quarantine.

A preliminary investigation by Credit Suisse found that its Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in July during a visit to Britain when the country's Covid -19 rules required him to be in quarantine, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. It is the second time the Portuguese banker, who joined the Swiss bank in April to clean up its culture following a string of scandals, has been found to have broken coronavirus curbs. The findings of the investigation by Credit Suisse 's legal team were passed to the audit committee on the bank's board before Christmas.

Despite getting no answer from the authorities, the banker took the plane to the Iberian peninsula before heading to New York for a board meeting.

The resignation adds to the woes of the Swiss banking giant, which was rocked by its links to the multi-billion-dollar meltdowns at financial firms Greensill and Archegos last year.

Horta-Osorio, who built a solid reputation in having turned around British bank Lloyds, had pledged to tackle risk at Credit Suisse.

- 'Without distraction' -

"We respect Antonio's decision (to resign) and owe him considerable thanks for his leadership in defining the new strategy, which we will continue to implement over the coming months and years," Severin Schwan, vice chair of Credit Suisse's board, said in the company statement.

"Axel Lehmann as the new Chairman, with his extensive international and Swiss industry experience, is ideally suited to drive forward the strategic and cultural transformation of the bank," he said.

The board will propose that Lehmann, who has headed the risk committee since October, take over permanently as chairman at the annual general meeting on April 29, the bank said.

"We have set the right course with the new strategy and will continue to embed a stronger risk culture across the firm," Lehmann said.

"By executing our strategic plan in a timely and disciplined manner, without distraction, I am convinced that Credit Suisse will demonstrate the renewed strength and business focus needed to generate sustainable value for all of our stakeholders," he said.

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