Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, seeking to reassure investors about his ability to turn around Credit Suisse Group AG, pledged to continue efforts to cut costs and steer the bank away from risky activities.

“The first quarter of 2016 has seen a continuation of some of the negative pressures experienced” in 2015, Thiam said in the prepared text of a speech published on the bank’s website Friday for the annual general meeting. “January and February were simply two of the worst months ever in international markets. As a result, we decided to accelerate our strategy of right-sizing and de-risking our market activities.”

Thiam, who joined Credit Suisse from British insurer Prudential Plc in 2015, is seeking to restore investor confidence in Switzerland’s second-largest lender, whose stock has slumped about 32 percent this year. The CEO, 53, last month announced deeper cuts to the securities business, just five months after unveiling an overhaul designed to shrink riskier businesses and focus on wealth management.

The shares slipped 3.2 percent to 14.71 Swiss francs at 11:45 a.m. in Zurich.

‘Disciplined, Focused’

Making his first appearance at the shareholder meeting, Thiam said the bank’s financial performance this year will continue to be affected by restructuring efforts.

“It is therefore more important than ever for us to remain disciplined and focused on Credit Suisse’s priorities going forward,” he said. “Our aim is to be capital generative and to deliver profitable growth through the economic cycle.”

Credit Suisse reported a bigger-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter and the CEO said last month that writedowns on trading positions are threatening profit again in the first quarter. The bank is scheduled to release earnings on May 10.

Chairman Urs Rohner, who is up for re-election Friday, said the share development shows “that the market has not yet acknowledged our efforts.”

Last year “was a difficult year and the challenges it presented are unlikely to diminish in the current financial year,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeffrey Vögeli in Zurich at jvogeli@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simone Meier at smeier@bloomberg.net, Cindy Roberts, Jon Menon

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

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