Credit Suisse appoints new compliance chief after Greensill and Archegos crises

Credit Suisse Group AG updates

Credit Suisse has appointed a new chief compliance officer five months after the Swiss lender jettisoned at least seven senior executives in the wake of twin crises at Archegos Capital and Greensill Capital.

Rafael Lorenzo, who has run the bank’s internal audit division since 2017, will take over from Lara Warner, who was global risk and compliance chief of Credit Suisse until the wave of top departures in April. Thomas Grotzer, general counsel for the bank’s Swiss business, had held the position on an interim basis since Warner was forced out.

The permanent appointment is among the first under new chair António Horta-Osório, who joined the board in April and vowed to conduct an urgent review of the bank’s risk management, strategy and culture. Credit Suisse also hired UBS’s former chief operating officer, Axel Lehmann, last month to lead the board’s risk committee, as part of moves to reinforce its defences following the spate of scandals.

Credit Suisse’s reputation for risk management has been hit this year by the dual crises surrounding specialist finance group Greensill Capital and family office Archegos. The two incidents have led to the Swiss group liquidating $10bn of investment funds and losing $5.5bn in the worst trading loss in its 165-year history.

Lorenzo, who will join the board by October 1, played a “pivotal role” in reviews of the bank’s failures in its handling of the Archegos and Greensill incidents, according to Credit Suisse.

His “leadership, experience and deep understanding of the bank’s processes and challenges in the third line of defence will be key in leading the future compliance function,” the bank added.

A damning report into the Archegos losses, published by law firm Paul Weiss in July, described a “fundamental failure of management and controls” in Credit Suisse’s investment bank and a “lackadaisical attitude towards risk”.

The ensuing housecleaning also resulted in Andreas Gottschling stepping down from his role as head of Credit Suisse’s risk committee after several large shareholders indicated they would vote against his re-election. Richard Meddings, the executive chair of TSB Bank, has been interim head of the Credit Suisse risk committee since April.

In July, Credit Suisse announced it had hired David Wildermuth, the former deputy risk officer at Goldman Sachs, as its chief risk officer. Wildermuth will move from New York to Zurich to take up his new post by February 2022.

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