ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann reiterated on Monday his support for Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein amid investor unrest over whether he is the right man for the job at Switzerland’s second-biggest bank.
“I fully back him because he is good,” Lehmann said in an interview with broadcaster CNBC at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, dismissing as “rumours and speculations” talk that Gottstein could be on his way out.
Asked specifically about a report that talks had taken place on replacing Gottstein, Lehmann said: “I know that has not taken place, so it is wrong.”
Top-ten shareholder Artisan Partners told Reuters last week that Credit Suisse should start looking for a new CEO, becoming the first major investor to publicly call for such a move at the scandal-hit Swiss bank.
Asked about Credit Suisse’s relatively low valuation, Lehmann said the bank had gone through incremental shake-ups since posting a $5.5 billion loss from the unravelling of U.S. investment firm Archegos last year.
“The market I think understands that we don’t have a balance sheet or liquidity crisis but the market believes…we have been involved in too many scandals. What we need is execution of our plans and making sure hopefully that we get a little bit out of the news, so no scandal any more” he said.
“Valuation will gradually come back, but it will take time.”
(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Silke Koltrowitz)