Saudi National Bank chief resigns after Credit Suisse comments

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Credit Suisse Group AG’s largest shareholder, Ammar Al Qudair, has resigned days after his comments sent shares of the Swiss lender plummeting.

Al Qudhairy, who will become chairman of Saudi National Bank in 2021 through the merger of National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group, is stepping down for “personal reasons” and will be replaced by Chief Executive Officer Saeed Mohammed Al Qamdi. for a statement on Monday.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television earlier this month, Al Guthari said “absolutely not” when asked if the Saudi National Bank would be open to additional investments in Credit Suisse if there was another call for additional liquidity.

The Swiss bank’s shares fell to record lows and its loan spreads widened following his comments. That helped drag down all European banks as investors shied away from risk following the collapse of three lenders in the US.

Days later, UBS Group AG agreed to buy Credit Suisse in a historic, government-brokered deal aimed at stemming a crisis of confidence that had begun to ripple through global financial markets. UBS offered to pay its rival 3 billion francs ($3.3 billion) in an all-share deal that included extensive government guarantees and liquidity provisions.

Saudi National Bank, which is 37% owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has seen the value of its investment fall by about $1 billion in the months since it bought a roughly 9.9% stake for 1.4 billion francs last year.

Born in 1963, Al Qudayri spent his career in Saudi Arabia’s financial sector. He was chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley in Saudi Arabia.

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Al Qudayri also founded Amwal Al Khaleez and Amwal Capital Partners, an alternative asset management business in Riyadh and Dubai.

Separately, Saudi National Bank appointed Talal Ahmed Al Kheriji as acting CEO. He was previously Deputy CEO and Head of Saudi Lending Wholesale Bank.

(Adds details about al-Qudhairi throughout.)

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