Credit Suisse chairman says on track to boost equity return: media

Chairman Urs Rohner of Swiss bank Credit Suisse arrives before the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) – Cost cuts and closing a unit where Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) had parked underperforming assets will help boost return on tangible equity (ROTE) to at least 10 percent in 2019, Chairman Urs Rohner said in an interview published on Saturday.

He said that target was within reach.

“With that, we will stand out in a cross-comparison with other banks in Europe,” Rohner told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ), referring to measures such as winding down the bank’s Strategic Resolution Unit, a home for assets that have been a drag on the bank’s performance.

ROTE was 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 2018.

A lawyer, Rohner has been Credit Suisse’s chairman since 2011. He told the newspaper he would like to remain in the post until 2021, but said that would be up to shareholders.

Rohner added that Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam’s efforts to restructure the bank may attract job offers from elsewhere, but he was not worried about his CEO jumping ship.

“I know also that he very much enjoys working at Credit Suisse and that he is not planning to leave the bank,” Rohner said.

Credit Suisse shares are down 38 percent on the year, more than the 33 percent decline of larger rival UBS (UBSG.S). Still, Rohner told the newspaper he is not anticipating incursions by activist investors, such as those who have sought to influence other Swiss companies like engineering group ABB (ABBN.S) or food giant Nestle (NESN.S).

“Our large investors support our direction,” Rohner said.

Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Robert Birsel and Raissa Kasolowsky

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