Credit Suisse investors oppose risk chairman’s Gottschling re-election

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch office in Zurich

ZURICH (Reuters) – Shareholders holding more than 15% of Credit Suisse stock want to oust the board’s risk committee chairman, Andreas Gottschling, after investments imploded, the Financial Times reported on Monday, following a similar call by proxy adviser Glass Lewis.

Credit Suisse is raising capital, and has halted share buybacks, cut its dividend and revamped management after the Swiss lender lost at least $4.7 billion from the collapse of family office Archegos, and after the bank suspended funds linked to insolvent supply chain finance company Greensill.

Now, David Herro, vice-chair of Harris Associates, which says it owns 10.25 per cent of the bank’s stock, and the Ethos Foundation, which represents 200 Swiss pension funds that own between 3 and 5 per cent, want Gottschling to be removed at the upcoming shareholders meeting.

Norway’s oil fund, which at the end of 2020 owned 3.43% of Credit Suisse stock, also said it would vote against Gottschling’s re-election, the FT said.

“Not only should Mr. Gottschling be voted down, but I’m actually surprised in light of current events that he hasn’t already resigned,” Herro told the newspaper.

Earlier this month, Glass Lewis urged Credit Suisse shareholders to oppose Gottschling’s re-election, on grounds that as risk committee chairman he should be held accountable for problems tied to Greensill and Archegos.

“Our clients are really angry about what has happened,” Vincent Kaufmann, chief executive of Ethos, told the Financial Times. “Other members of the risk committee have not been there very long so we will give them more of a chance. [Gottschling] took over in 2018 as chair. This now requires a change.”

Credit Suisse did not immediately comment.

The Zurich-based bank is due to hold its shareholders’ meeting on April 30.

In contrast to Glass Lewis, another proxy adviser, ISS, has not recommended investors to oppose Gottschling.

(Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill)

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