SWITZERLAND - Lukas Mühlemann has buckled under shareholder pressure and will step down from his position as chairman of the board of directors at Credit Suisse Group from next year.
As of April 2003 Mühlemann, who took both jobs in May 2000, will now focus soley on his role as chief executive officer of the group. The move follows earlier shareholder calls to split his dual role, and comes as Credit Suisse expects a “modest” dip in second quarter results due to “substantial losses” in its insurance arm, Winterthur. Credit Suisse also confirmed the resignation of Thomas Wellauer, chief executive of Credit Suisse Financial Services, who will leave the company at the end of September. He will be replaced by Oswald Grübel with immediate effect. Grübel was head of the firm’s private banking business from 1997.
Commenting on the changes the firm said: “Given that the continuing challenging environment demands Lukas Mühleman's full attention as chief executive officer, he has proposed to the board of directors that the dual mandate of chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the group be separated. the board of directors agreed to this proposal and has appointed a committee to find a suitable candidate for the position of chairman of the board of directors by the annual general meeting in 2003.”
The committee will comprise Daniel Vasella as chairman, as well as Walter Kielholz and Marc-Henri Chaudet.
Last month Credit Suisse had to inject a further CHF1.7bn Winterthur to patchup its eroding equity base. The group also recorded further writedowns of its investment in Swiss Life.
Towards the close of play on Thursday the firm’s share price had recovered only slightly to trade at CHF45.80 on the Swiss Stock Exchange.
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