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Mühlemann departs empty-handed

Mühlemann is stepping down from the helm of Credit Suisse

(Keystone)

The chairman and chief executive of the Credit Suisse Group, Lukas Mühlemann, is to leave the bank without a golden handshake.

Mühlemann, who steps down at the end of the year after coming under pressure for his failed expansion strategy, will waive his contractual right to a severance payment.

A statement on Wednesday from Switzerland's second-largest financial group said that Mühlemann had notified the board of directors of his decision.

However, the brief announcement added that his salary would continue to be paid until the end of his notice period on March 31. Media reports say Mühlemann earned SFr15 million in 2001.

It did not reveal whether Mühlemann would receive any pension contributions.

Mühlemann's six-year term at Credit Suisse was marked by a growth strategy, with major acquisitions in insurance (Winterthur) and investment banking (Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette).

Cash drains

Credit Suisse announced in mid-November that it had made a record net loss of SFr2.1 billion ($1.47 billion) in the third quarter, with both its insurance arm and investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston causing a cash drain, due in part to the global market downturn.

Presenting the figures in Zurich were Mühlemann's successors as co-chief executives, Oswald Grübel and John Mack. Walter Kielholz is to take over as chairman after he leaves the Swiss Reinsurance Company as chief executive.

Pay revelations

The subject of managers' pay hit the headlines in Switzerland this year following a series of revelations about hefty compensation packages.

In February, the ABB engineering company revealed that two former chief executives, Percy Barnevik and Göran Lindahl, had received pension and other retirement benefits worth SFr233 million.

The pay-offs prompted public and shareholder outcry at a time when the company had reported a loss for 2001 of $691 million. The two Swedes later agreed to repay some of the money.

Another high profile case was the SFr6 million paid to the former chairman and chief executive of Zurich Financial Services, Rolf Hüppi, when he left the company in May.

Hüppi stepped down at Zurich after four profit warnings last year and what were perceived as strategy errors.

The company made a loss of $387 million in 2001, and was hard hit by insurance claims from the September 11 attacks.

swissinfo with agencies

Mühlemann pay-off

The chairman and CEO of Credit Suisse, Lukas Mühlemann has waived his contractual right to a severance payment.

But Mühlemann will receive payment from Switzerland's second-largest bank until the end of his notice period on March 31.

He stepped down under increasing pressure after a string of negative headlines hit the Credit Suisse Group.

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