Saudi National Bank chairman quits after triggering Credit Suisse turmoil

The chairman of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder has quit after his comments helped trigger the slump in its shares that led to its rescue.

Ammar Al Khudairy said he had resigned from Saudi National Bank for personal reasons, days after saying he would “absolutely not” inject more cash into the struggling Swiss bank.

Credit Suisse’s stock plunged to its lowest level on record following his comments during an interview.

That helped drag all European banks lower as investors shied away from risk following the collapse of three lenders in the US.

It also hammered Saudi National Bank’s 9.9pc stake in Credit Suisse, which it acquired for 1.4bn Swiss francs (£1.3bn) in November last year.

UBS later agreed to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion francs (£2.7bn) in an historic, government-brokered deal aimed at containing the crisis of confidence that had started to spread across markets worldwide.

Banks across the FTSE 350 have fallen by nearly 15pc since the crisis in markets began with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

The chief executive of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said on Monday that the banking turmoil has the “potential” to lead to another global financial crisis.

In the aftermath of his comments, Mr Al Khudairy tried to minimise what he described as a “panic”.

He told CNBC television: “If you look at how the entire banking sector has dropped, unfortunately, a lot of people were just looking for excuses.

“It’s panic, a little bit of panic. I believe [it is] completely unwarranted, whether it be for Credit Suisse or for the entire market.”

Saudi National Bank’s £1.3bn investment in Credit Suisse was made at the behest of the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Mr Al Khudairy will be replaced as chairman by Saudi National Bank chief executive Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi.

He became chairman of Saudi National Bank in 2021 when it was created via a merger of National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group.

Mohammed Ali Yasin, capital markets specialist and investment adviser, said Mr Al Khudairy “was a victim of giving his honest opinion at such a tense time for Credit Suisse”.

He added: “In hindsight, seeing the buyout rate of Credit Suisse by UBS, his answer was the right course of action: awaiting for the crisis to be clearer.”

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