Ex-Credit Suisse chair rejects cash-back demands

Urs Rohner feels "socially ostracised" since the collapse of Credit Suisse. © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Former Credit Suisse chair Urs Rohner has no intention of paying back any of the millions he earned while presiding over multiple calamities at the troubled bank.

This content was published on March 28, 2023

Rohner was elected as chair of the board in 2011 and stepped down in 2021, two years before the bank was rescued from imminent collapse by its arch-rival UBS.

+ Where did it all go wrong for Credit Suisse?

As chair, and previously vice-chair for two years, Rohner earned CHF52 million ($57 million), according to Swiss shareholder investment group Ethos Foundation.

Speaking to CH Media, a spokesperson for Rohner rejected calls in Switzerland for some of this money to be returned.

“As Chairman of the Board of Directors, he didn't get any bonuses, so there's nothing to repay,” the spokesperson said, pointing out that Rohner voluntarily waived CHF5 million in bonuses he was due by the terms of his contract.

Rohner is the subject of much anger following the demise of Switzerland’s second largest bank.

+ Relive the drama of the Credit Suisse rescue

Under his watch, Credit Suisse paid a huge tax evasion fine in the United States, lost billions in sour business deals with Archegos and Greensill and endured multiple other scandals.

Rohner now feels “socially ostracised” and is nervous about appearing in public, the spokesperson said.

Investigations pending

Another former member of the bank’s top brass, ex-CEO Tidjane Thiam (2015-2020), has been moved to defend his record against mounting criticism.

Writing in the Financial Times, Thiam said the bank was profitable and in a stronger place when he stepped down following a damaging spy scandal.

The Swiss government has ordered a freeze on bonuses, while parliament is poised to launch investigations following the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS.

The Swiss financial regulator FINMA has also announced a probe into the conduct of Credit Suisse top brass.

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