‘I Am Truly Sorry’: Credit Suisse Chairman
Credit Suisse Group AG's annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday was supposed to mark the beginning of its recovery, but instead, it became the final chapter of its nearly 167-year-old history. Held in person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the meeting saw tight security and slow check-in for the 1,750 shareholders who attended the hockey stadium in Zurich, a venue typically used for concerts and comedians.
Apologizing for the loss of trust and disappointment, Axel Lehmann, Credit Suisse's final chairman who took on the role in January 2022, acknowledged that it was a sad day for shareholders and the bank. Shareholders expressed their anger at the bank's management and board for their failure to save the institution, with some voicing their frustration during the meeting.
The original agenda for the meeting was scaled back as Credit Suisse had agreed to be taken over by its larger rival, UBS Group AG. Several items, including a dividend approval vote, were cancelled. Shareholders narrowly approved the re-election of Mr. Lehmann and other board members, as well as their compensation for 2023. However, this year's fixed compensation for senior executives, including the CEO and other C-suite managers, was voted down. Mr. Lehmann acknowledged that he would need to figure out the next steps for executive pay.
With the takeover by UBS expected to close in the coming weeks, according to Mr. Lehmann, the approved compensation is expected to cover only the period when Credit Suisse remains a standalone company.