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Credit Suisse Chief To Step Down

September 19, 2002

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ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ The chairman and chief executive of struggling Credit Suisse Group, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, will step down by the end of the year, the company announced Thursday.

Lukas Muehlemann had been under pressure to leave because the bank’s poor performance this year.

``By taking this step, I hope to better position Credit Suisse Group for future success by removing any questions surrounding my leadership of the company,″ Muehlemann said in a statement.

Credit Suisse announced that Walter Kielholz will take over as chairman. He is currently chairman and CEO of reinsurance company Swiss Re and is vice chairman of Credit Suisse Group’s board of directors.

John Mack, CEO of Credit Suisse First Boston, Oswald Gruebel, CEO of Credit Suisse Financial Services, and will become co-CEOs of the group. Mack became a Wall Street legend while head of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. He was brought in to run Credit Suisse First Boston in a July 2001 shake-up.

In Zurich trading, Credit Suisse shares fell 1.4 percent at 31.95 Swiss francs ($21.30).

Muehlemann had announced in July that he would give up being chairman in 2003 to concentrate on his work as CEO, but that was not enough to save him following disastrous financial results that saw Credit Suisse falling far behind its main rival, UBS.

The company’s net profit for 2001 plunged 73 percent from a year earlier to 1.5 billion Swiss francs (then $890 million). Last month, Credit Suisse reported a second-quarter loss of 579 million francs ($387 million), compared with a profit of 1.29 billion francs in the same period a year earlier.

Kielholz said his first priority would be ``to address the challenges created by the difficult market environment facing the entire financial services industry, so that we can move forward to realize the company’s full potential.″

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