Saudi National Bank chair resigns just days after Credit Suisse comments sparked sell-off
Saudi National Bank Chairman Ammar al-Khudairy resigned his post on Monday, days after his comments exacerbated the share collapse of troubled bank Credit Suisse.
He will be replaced by SNB Managing Director and Group CEO Mohammed al-Ghamdi, with former deputy Talal Ahmed al-Khereiji now the new SNB acting CEO, according to a SNB statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).
Al-Khudairy is stepping down "due to personal reasons," the bank said.
Al-Khudairy's resignation comes within days of his mid-March comments to Bloomberg that SNB was unlikely to increase its stake in Credit Suisse, at a time when the European lender battled a crisis of investor confidence that plunged its shares. The then-SNB chairman said the Saudi bank would not intercede "for many reasons outside the simplest reason, which is regulatory and statutory."
The comments fueled investor panic, sinking Credit Suisse shares 24% during that session, despite effectively reiterating SNB's previous position that it did not intend to expand its holdings beyond its then 9.9% interest as Credit Suisse's largest shareholder.
The Swiss bank was acquired by Zurich rival UBS on March 19 for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion), in a late-weekend union brokered by the Swiss government. SNB lost roughly 80% of its investment in Credit Suisse — over $1 billion — during the takeover, as UBS paid shareholders a sharply discounted price of just 0.76 francs per share under the terms of the rescue agreement.
The largest commercial bank in Saudi Arabia, SNB is the young product of a 2021 union between the National Commercial Bank and the Samba Financial Group.
Saudi Arabia has encouraged the consolidation of its financial entities amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's broader Vision 2030 push to diversify the kingdom's revenues and economic growth prospects away from hydrocarbon earnings.
— CNBC's Hadley Gamble contributed to this article.