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Saudi National Bank Chair Resigns After Credit Suisse Remark

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Ammar Al Khudairy, the chairman of Credit Suisse Group AG’s largest shareholder, has resigned just days after his comments helped spark a slump in the Swiss lender’s shares.

Al Khudairy, who became chairman of Saudi National Bank in 2021 when it was created via a merger of National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group, is leaving “due to personal reasons” and will be replaced by Chief Executive Officer Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi, according to a statement on Monday.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV earlier this month, Al Khudairy said “absolutely not” when asked if Saudi National Bank would be open to further investments in Credit Suisse if there was another call for additional liquidity.

The Swiss bank’s stock plunged to the lowest level on record and its credit spreads surged following his comments. That helped drag all European banks lower as investors shied away from risk following the collapse of three lenders in the US.

Days later, UBS Group AG agreed to buy Credit Suisse in a historic, government-brokered deal aimed at containing a crisis of confidence that had started to spread across global financial markets. UBS offered to pay 3 billion francs ($3.3 billion) for its rival in an all-share deal that includes extensive government guarantees and liquidity provisions.

Saudi National Bank, which is 37% owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, saw the value of its investment in Credit Suisse plummet by about $1 billion in a matter of months after it acquired a roughly 9.9% stake for 1.4 billion francs last year.

Born in 1963, Al Khudairy spent his career in Saudi Arabia’s financial sector running some of the kingdom’s top institutions. He’d been chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley in Saudi Arabia.

Al Khudairy also founded alternative assets management business Amwal AlKhaleej and Amwal Capital Partners, based in Riyadh and Dubai.

Separately, Saudi National Bank appointed Talal Ahmed Al Khereiji as acting CEO. He was previously deputy CEO and head of wholesale banking at the Saudi lender.

(Adds details on Al Khudairy throughout.)

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