Resignations are multiplying at Credit Suisse in the run-up to the finalization of its acquisition by UBS, the bank recording between 150 and 200 departures per week, said a source close to the matter Wednesday. The source, who requested anonymity, confirmed information from the financial agency AWP. The merger of UBS and Credit Suisse raises serious concerns for employment, especially in Zurich, where the headquarters of both institutions are located.
On March 19, UBS agreed to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs, a comparable sum in euros, under pressure from the Swiss authorities to avoid bankruptcy. Together, the workforce of the two banks will amount to about 120,000 people worldwide, including 37,000 in Switzerland with a significant risk of duplication in certain areas of activity. In the face of these concerns, speculation is rife about the extent of the departures.
On Wednesday, the Swiss tabloid Blick had evoked a much higher figure, going "up to 150 departures per day" at the global level, without however citing its sources. Many employees take "the lead" and "leave on their own, without waiting for their thank you letter," said the Swiss tabloid. A source close to the file, however, disputed this figure, saying that it is rather the number of departures "per week". Contacted by AFP, Credit Suisse did not wish to comment.
No 'immediate need' for short-term redundancies
At the end of March, Credit Suisse employed 48,150 people, 2330 fewer than in the previous quarter when the bank had begun a major restructuring even before the announcement of its acquisition by UBS. At the beginning of April, Lukas Gähwiler, the vice-chairman of UBS, had explained that the two banks would rather need "more", and not "less" staff at first to continue operating after the merger.
Sergio Ermotti, the chief executive of UBS, then confirmed at the end of April that there is no "immediate need" for layoffs in the short term, even if employment will be "the most painful part of the transaction" in the longer term, he acknowledged. It relies on spontaneous departures and retirements to limit job losses.