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Raiffeisen chair resigns amid Finma investigation into ex-CEO

Raiffeisen chair resigns amid Finma investigation into ex-CEO

Raiffeisen Switzerland chairman Johannes Rüegg-Stürm has resigned amid a probe into the company by Finma.

Rüegg-Stürm stepping down comes shortly after ex-CEO Pierin Vincenz, who left the firm in December, was taken into custody under suspicion of corporate fraud.  

His resignation, effective immediately, is an attempt to restore faith in the bank following ongoing Finma proceedings against the Swiss cooperative, according to a statement.

The Swiss regulation body's investigation into both Raiffeisen Switzerland and Vincenz began this year after it uncovered conflicts of interest linked to major shareholdings.

A spokesperson for the bank called Rüegg-Stürm’s resignation 'an important move to preserve the long-term credibility of Raiffeisen Switzerland'.

For the time being, independent board member Pascal Gantenbein has been appointed interim chair.

Gantenbein has been a member of the board since 2017, exercising his background in real estate and risk to oversee Raiffeisen as it has become one of Switzerland’s top mortgage lenders.

'My priority task will be to continue the process of renewal already initiated within the board of directors, and to ensure governance in order to build confidence and credibility in the cooperative,' said Gantenbein.

Board reshuffle

In addition to movements involving Rüegg-Stürm and Gantenbein, two new candidates - Thomas Rauber and Rolf Walker - are to be presented for election on 16 June in Lugano.

They will replace Edgar Wohlhauser and Werner Zollinger, who are coming to the end of their respective terms.

Rauber is no stranger to the Raiffeisen board, as he currently sits as chairman of its Fribourg Est division. He also maintains his position as CEO and managing partner of TR Invest AG, a private investment company providing capital to SME’s and start-ups in Switzerland and Germany.

Walker was previously a partner at Ernst & Young, but has resigned in anticipation of his new role on the Raiffeisen board. He is also a Finma accredited chief auditor for banks, securities dealers and financial market infrastructures.

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