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SNB announces management changes after Credit Suisse fallout

Credit Suisse in Bern Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
Saudi National Bank became an anchor investor in Credit Suisse’s $4.3 billion capital raise in October 2022
  • Saudi National Bank chairman Ammar Al Khudairy has resigned
  • The current chief executive will step up to the chairmanship
  • SNB predicts big losses from its shares in troubled Credit Suisse

Ammar Al Khudairy has resigned as chairman of Saudi National Bank for “personal reasons”, it was announced on Monday, leading to a series of SNB management changes.

SNB chief executive Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi has been appointed his successor, according to a statement on the Tadawul Saudi stock exchange.

Talal Ahmed Al Khereiji, a graduate of Georgetown University in the US and a 27-year veteran of the banking and finance industry, was named acting chief executive.

The SNB management changes come just two weeks after Al Khudairy told Reuters that the kingdom’s biggest bank by assets would not buy more shares in Switzerland’s Credit Suisse on regulatory grounds, which sent the Swiss bank’s shares to record lows.

SNB, which is 37 percent owned by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), had acquired almost a 10 percent stake in the troubled Swiss bank last year for SR5.5 billion ($1.46 billion).

Experts forecast as much a loss of as much as $1 billion for SNB, Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder, following the reported $3.23 billion takeover deal by larger rival UBS last week as part of a wider state-backed rescue plan.

SNB said its growth strategy would not be impacted by the UBS takeover.

“Changes in the valuation of SNB’s investment in Credit Suisse have no impact on SNB’s growth plans and forward-looking 2023 guidance,” it said in a bourse filing.

SNB’s shares were up 1.9 percent on Monday morning. 

A report from Alvarez & Marsal published on Monday revealed that higher credit demand, better asset yield and operating efficiencies drove the top Saudi lenders’ profitability in 2022, despite rising benchmark interest rates.

Aggregate net income across the kingdom’s 10 largest listed banks, including SNB, increased by 28.4 percent year on year to SAR62.7 billion ($16.7 billion).

“Saudi banks are likely to remain on a profitable path in 2023 with continued credit growth,” the report added.