ZURICH, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Julius Baer (BAER.S), CEO Philipp Rickenbacher is set to leave, a source with knowledge of the matter said, as the Swiss bank deals with the fallout from its exposure to collapsed property group Signa.
Rickenbacher will be replaced by his deputy, Nic Dreckmann, the Financial Times and Bloomberg reported.
Rickenbacher, who has led Julius Baer since 2019, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Julius Baer declined to comment.
The board of the wealth manager had been locked in discussions on Rickenbacher’s future on Wednesday, the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said ahead of the bank’s financial results on Thursday, when it is expected to announce a big writedown on losses related to Signa.
Julius Baer has been under pressure for months over the company’s ties to Signa, which is controlled by Austrian magnate Rene Benko and last year declared insolvency.
Analysts have estimated Julius Baer’s losses related to Signa at around 400 million Swiss francs ($464 million), and a Swiss newspaper last week said it was set to announce a write-off of around this amount when it reports results on Thursday.
Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, earlier reported that Julius Baer was discussing replacing one or more members of its senior leadership team, including Rickenbacher.
Dreckmann was named deputy CEO at the start of this year and has been with Julius Baer for nearly two decades.
Julius Baer’s shares have fallen about 14% since November when it revealed it had a 606 million-franc exposure – the largest in its private debt loan book – to a European conglomerate. It has declined to confirm whether the client is Signa.
Switzerland’s financial regulator, FINMA, launched an investigation into the bank over its risk controls, Bloomberg reported in December. FINMA declined to comment on Wednesday.