ANTONIO Horta-Osorio, the Portuguese banker who led Lloyds Banking Group back to private ownership after its bail-out in the financial crisis, has abruptly quit his new role as chairman of Credit Suisse.

The banker resigned from the Swiss bank with immediate effect after it emerged that he breached Covid rules last year. Reuters reported in December that Mr Horta-Osorio, who left Lloyds following a decade in charge last year, broke quarantine rules by attending he Wimbledon tennis championships in London in July.

Credit Suisse said his departure followed an investigation commissioned by the board.

In a statement released by Credit Suisse this morning, he said:  “I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally. I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time. I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future.”

Credit Suisse has appointed Axel P Lehmann as its new chairman with immediate effect.

Severin Schwan, vice-chairman and lead independent director of the board of Credit Suisse, said: “We respect António’s decision and owe him considerable thanks for his leadership in defining the new strategy, which we will continue to implement over the coming months and years. Axel Lehmann as the new chairman, with his extensive international and Swiss industry experience, is ideally suited to drive forward the strategic and cultural transformation of the bank. We wish Axel every success in his new role and António all the best for the future.”

Mr Horta-Osorio received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2021 for his services to the financial sector, as well as his voluntary work for mental healthcare and culture.

He had headed Santander's UK arm before taking over at Lloyds in early 2011 the bank was on its knees after its £20.3 billion taxpayer bail-out at the height of the financial crisis following an ill-fated rescue of rival HBOS.

The Lisbon-born 57-year-old, who has British citizenship, bowed out from Lloyds in April with a £2.1 billion first-quarter profits haul.