Finance

Credit Suisse hires Goldman Sachs partner to lead risk turnaround

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The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

  • Credit Suisse taps Goldman ranks for a second time
  • Wildermuth to join by February 2022 at the latest
  • Tighter risk management a key priority

ZURICH, July 27 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) on Tuesday appointed Goldman Sachs (GS.N) partner David Wildermuth its new chief risk officer, as it seeks to turn the corner on the Archegos and Greensill scandals that have rocked Switzerland's second-biggest bank.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse has been cutting risk after its prime brokerage business lost billions from the collapse of family office Archegos, and as its asset management division scrambles to return some $10 billion of client investments linked to insolvent supply chain finance firm Greensill.

Those scandals have prompted a swathe of sackings, executive changes and regulatory investigations, as well as a planned strategic overhaul which Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has said aims to make risk and cultural change a top priority.

Wildermuth's appointment marks a coup for Credit Suisse and the second time this month the bank has tapped the upper echelons of the Wall Street giant to boost its executive ranks, after earlier this month naming Joanne Hannaford its chief technology and operations officer from Jan. 1.

"I am delighted to welcome David to Credit Suisse, where he will help shape the Group's enhanced risk management framework, an essential part of the bank's strategic realignment currently underway," Horta-Osorio said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs, along with Credit Suisse, was one of at least a handful of global banks embroiled when Archegos Capital Management began defaulting on margin calls, prompting a market-wide fire sale of stocks in March.

However a late 2020 compliance review, which required the family office to stock up on more collateral, and swift trading in March helped Goldman exit the stricken fund while avoiding significant losses.

Credit Suisse's former chief risk and compliance officer, Lara Warner, was one of the Swiss bank's high-level casualties after it lost more than any other competitor from the Archegos debacle. The bank separated the risk and compliance roles following her departure.

Warner was replaced on an interim basis by Thomas Grotzer as compliance head and Joachim Oechslin as risk head. Credit Suisse on Tuesday said Oechslin, who already served as the bank's risk chief under previous CEOs Brady Dougan and Tidjane Thiam between 2014 and 2019, would resume his role as strategic advisor to the CEO after Wildermuth's arrival.

Credit Suisse, which is due to report earnings on Thursday, declined comment on its search for a permanent compliance head.

Wildermuth, a 24-year Goldman Sachs veteran, was appointed deputy chief risk officer at the U.S. financial giant in 2015 and has been a partner since 2010.

"David joins with an impressive track record, underlining our firm commitment to further enhance our risk management across the bank," Credit Suisse Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein said in the statement. "He is the right person to lead and further strengthen our risk organization."

Wildermuth will assume the role on February 1, 2022 at the latest, the Swiss bank said, and will be based in Zurich.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by Silke Koltrowitz, Tomasz Janowski and Sonali Paul

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