Credit Suisse Group AG (Credit Suisse) today announced the appointment of Ulrich Körner as Group Chief Executive Officer from August 1, 2022, replacing Thomas Gottstein, who is resigning. At the same time, the bank has announced that it is conducting a comprehensive strategic review with the following objectives:
- Consider alternatives that go beyond the conclusions of last year’s strategic review, particularly given the changed economic and market environment. The goal of the appraisal will be to shape a more focused, agile Group with a significantly lower absolute cost base, capable of delivering sustainable returns for all stakeholders and first-class service to clients.
- Strengthen its world-class global wealth management franchise, leading universal bank in Switzerland and multi-specialist asset management business.
- Transform the Investment Bank into a capital-light, advisory-led Banking business and more focused Markets business that complements the growth of the wealth management and Swiss Bank franchises.
- Evaluate strategic options for the Securitized Products business, which may include attracting third-party capital into this market-leading, high-return platform, to capture untapped growth opportunities and free up additional resources for the bank’s growth areas.
- Reduce the Group’s absolute cost base to below CHF 15.5 bn in the medium term, in part through a company-wide digital transformation that prudently ensures durable savings while remaining focused on improving risk management and risk culture.
Credit Suisse will provide further details on the progress of the strategic review, including specific performance goals, with its third-quarter 2022 results.
Axel P. Lehmann, Chairman of Credit Suisse, said: “I am delighted to welcome Ueli as our new Group CEO, to oversee this comprehensive strategic review at a pivotal moment for Credit Suisse. With his profound industry knowledge and impressive track record, Ueli will drive our strategic and operational transformation, building on existing strengths and accelerating growth in key business areas. Since becoming Chairman and reviewing the bank’s portfolio with our newly refreshed Board of Directors, I have come to appreciate the world-class quality of our businesses. But we need to be more flexible to ensure they have the necessary resources to compete. Our goal must be to become a stronger, simpler and more efficient Group with more sustainable returns. I would like to thank Thomas for his commitment to Credit Suisse over more than two decades and in particular as Group CEO. He has made an enormous contribution to Credit Suisse and always served our clients in Switzerland and beyond with integrity and entrepreneurial spirit. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Thomas Gottstein, outgoing CEO of Credit Suisse, said: “It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve Credit Suisse over these past 23 years. Credit Suisse has formidable client franchises in all four divisions globally and an immense talent pool across more than 50,000 colleagues worldwide. Despite the challenges of the past two years, I am immensely proud of our achievements since joining the Executive Board seven years ago and more recently in strengthening the bank, recruiting a top-caliber Executive Board, reducing risk and fundamentally improving our risk culture. In recent weeks, for personal and health-related considerations, and after discussions with Axel and my family, I concluded that now would be the right time to step aside and clear the way for new leadership to fully embrace the important initiatives announced this morning, which I wholeheartedly support.”
Ulrich Körner, new CEO of Credit Suisse, said: “I thank the Board of Directors for the trust they have placed in me as we embark on this fundamental transformation. I am looking forward to working with all colleagues across the bank and the Executive Board and devoting my full energy to execute on our transformation. This is a challenging undertaking but at the same time represents a great opportunity to position the bank for a successful future and realize its full potential. I would also like to thank Thomas wholeheartedly for his support and partnership.”
Ulrich Körner joined Credit Suisse April 1, 2021, as CEO Asset Management. He joined from UBS where he served as member of the group executive board for eleven years, of which six years leading the Asset Management division. Prior to this role he served as Chief Operating Officer. From 2011 he additionally headed the region Europe, Middle East and Africa for UBS. Before joining UBS, he was an executive at Credit Suisse and held various roles, including Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Credit Suisse Financial Services and CEO Switzerland. Ulrich Körner holds a PhD in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen (HSG).
Extend leadership positions in wealth management and universal banking in Switzerland
Credit Suisse’s roots lie in its strong global wealth management, universal banking in Switzerland and asset management franchises. The priority of the strategic review will be to enhance these positions, while considering options for fundamentally reshaping the Investment Bank into a highly competitive Banking and more sustainable Markets business that complements Wealth Management and the Swiss Bank.
In Wealth Management, Credit Suisse will aim to extend its leadership positions across Switzerland, EMEA, parts of the Americas and APAC leveraging its strengths in the Ultra High Net Worth sector while accelerating Core High Net Worth growth to drive recurring revenues, supported by a unified global platform. The bank’s leadership position in Switzerland will be further enhanced by building on ‘high-touch’ capabilities across wealth management, corporate and institutional clients and accelerating ‘high-tech’ activities through the CSX proposition.
Strategic review of the Investment Bank; evaluation of strategic options for Securitized Products
Credit Suisse’s Board of Directors and senior management believe that a core requirement of the strategic review will be to create a capital-light, advisory-led Banking business and more focused Markets business that complements the growth of the wealth management and Swiss Bank franchises that can better support its strategic goals, continue to provide superior service to clients and deliver more consistent performance. The bank will conduct an evaluation of strategic options to drive the next leg of growth for our market-leading Securitized Products platform and other related financing businesses. This highly profitable global franchise, which employs USD ~20 bn of RWA and USD ~75 bn of Leverage, has significant untapped growth opportunities which may be best unlocked by attracting third-party capital, which would also free up additional resources to allocate to Credit Suisse’s growth areas. Credit Suisse remains fully committed to supporting our Securitized Products clients.
The Investment Bank’s leadership will be strengthened by the appointment of David Miller and Michael Ebert as Co-heads, overseeing Banking and Markets, respectively. Christian Meissner, CEO of the Investment Bank, will focus on the ongoing strategic transformation of the business.
The development and implementation of the new strategy will be overseen by the full Board of Directors and supported by a Board led ad-hoc Investment Bank Strategy Committee, with Michael Klein as Chair and also including Mirko Bianchi, Richard Meddings and Blythe Masters.
Reduce absolute cost base to below CHF 15.5 bn; Continue to drive risk management culture
Credit Suisse’s Board of Directors and Executive Board have initiated a program to reduce the Group’s absolute cost base to below CHF 15.5 bn in the medium term given the more challenging economic and market environment. This builds on commitments made at the June Investor Deep Dive to deliver significant savings in the Technology and Operations function to improve scalability and ensure the long-term sustainability of these efficiencies, while continuing the digital transformation and improving the Group’s sound risk culture.
Axel P. Lehmann, Chairman of Credit Suisse, said: “With this deep strategic review we are setting clear priorities for the future of the firm. We want to create lasting values by serving our clients with care, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit. As we move ahead with our strategic review, our transformation and cultural change will restore Credit Suisse to its premium position as the bank for entrepreneurs in global finance.”