ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse's chairman told a room full of shareholders that he was "truly sorry" the Swiss bank was not able to get back on track at its final annual general meeting on Tuesday, according to a manuscript of his speech.
"I apologise that we were no longer able to stem the loss of trust that had accumulated over the years, and for disappointing you," Axel Lehmann said.
Lehmann, who has been chairman for a year, said that up until the week in which the forced merger with rival UBS was announced, he had believed in a successful turnaround for the bank, but the rapid downward spiral of events meant "the bank could not be saved".
The hastily arranged takeover by UBS, for which Switzerland invoked emergency legislation, bypassed Credit Suisse shareholders, who would otherwise have had a say, and largely wiped out the value of their holdings.
"Those who are at the helm at the end, are responsible, too. Hence, including me," Lehmann said.
(Reporting by Noele Illien, Editing by Rachel More and John O'Donnell)