The resignation of the head of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia after the Credit Suisse case (statement)
Ammar Al-Khudairi, head of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, who was the majority shareholder in Credit Suisse before the bailout plan earlier this month, resigned, according to a statement published on the Saudi Stock Exchange on Monday.
The statement stated that the Board of Directors of the National Bank “agreed to accept the resignation of” Ammar Al-Khudairi “due to special circumstances.”
Credit Suisse shares collapsed on March 15, after Al-Khudairi confirmed that the Saudi bank would not increase its stake in it.
The next day, the shares of the Swiss bank improved in the financial markets, after it obtained $ 54 billion from the Swiss Central Bank in an attempt to reassure investors.
On March 19, Swiss bank UBS acquired Credit Suisse at a bargain price.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Saudi National Bank’s investment of $1.5 billion in Credit Suisse came at the request of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The newspaper added that some officials in the Saudi Sovereign Fund saw at the time that the operation “without many risks (…) and raises legal issues and the possibility of incurring large losses in the future.”
On March 16, Al-Khudairi said in an interview with CNBC, “This is completely unjustified panic at the level of Credit Suisse or the entire market.”
In an interview with Agence France-Presse on the same day, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan considered that the market’s reaction may be “exaggerated” because it is unstable.
Without naming specific financial institutions, Al-Jadaan said that several failures, including at the regulatory level, fueled unrest in the sector, whether in terms of “supervision” or “management”, as well as a “mismatch” between assets and liabilities.
But he added that his country had nothing to do with it.
The CEO of the bank, Saeed bin Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, will succeed Al-Khudairi in his position, and Talal Ahmed Al-Khereiji, in turn, will replace him.
On Sunday, the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (Finma) said it was studying ways to hold Credit Suisse officials accountable, following the bank’s failure.
“We are not a criminal authority, but we are exploring appropriate possibilities,” the authority said in an interview published by the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.