Credit Suisse's Thiam faces shareholder ire at AGM

Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:02am EDT
 
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By Joshua Franklin

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse's CSGN.S leadership came under fire on Friday from shareholders disgruntled by a share slide amid a major restructuring of Switzerland's second-biggest bank.

Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam and Chairman Urs Rohner faced criticism over a 40 percent share price drop since Thiam took charge last July, plans to cut 6,000 jobs and the decision to pay top management bonuses for 2015 despite posting a loss.

Thiam has also faced scrutiny over almost $1 billion in recent write-downs in illiquid trading positions, the scale of which he has said were unknown to himself and other senior bank officials.

"The situation has become extremely serious," Dominique Biedermann, chairman of shareholder advisory group Ethos, told the group's annual meeting. "Trust in the current leadership is shattered."

Nevertheless, more than 80 percent of investors backed all of the pay proposals in binding AGM votes. Rohner was also comfortably re-elected as chairman.

Thiam's blueprint for Credit Suisse has received a mixed response from the market. After its first full-year loss since 2008 last year, the bank has warned 2016 will likely be another tough year but Thiam said the strategy would eventually bear fruit.

"We are building our platform for the future," Thiam told shareholders in Zurich at his first annual meeting since joining the bank, addressing them in a mixture of French and German.

"That can seem like a tough task, and one that rarely wins many plaudits in the short term but it is the only path that will lead to success in the long term."   Continued...

 
Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam of Swiss bank Cedit Suisse attends the annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann