UBS overhauls wealth management leadership in wider board shake-up

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KEY POINTS
  • UBS on Thursday announced a shake-up of its executive board in the latest phase of a radical overhaul of the Swiss banking giant, following its takeover of fallen rival Credit Suisse.
  • A newly split global wealth management division sees the bank double down across the two geographies as part of its “sustainable, strategic growth” strategy.
  • The new appointments provide an important signal on the future direction of the bank as it tees up a replacement for outgoing CEO Sergio Ermotti, who is expected to step down by early 2027.

LONDON —UBS on Thursday announced a shake-up of its executive board in the latest phase of a radical overhaul of the Swiss banking giant, following its takeover of fallen rival Credit Suisse.

A newly split global wealth management division, led by co-presidents Iqbal Khan in Asia-Pacific and Rob Karofsky in the U.S., sees the bank double down across the two geographies as part of what it has dubbed its “sustainable, strategic growth” strategy.

It marks the first time a divisional UBS president has been based in Asia-Pacific, the bank said.

The new appointments provide an important signal on the future direction of the bank, as it tees up a replacement for outgoing CEO Sergio Ermotti, who is expected to step down by early 2027.

“The appointments to the Group Executive Board we are announcing today will allow us to continue to progress on our integration journey and realize the expected synergies and efficiencies, while putting even more emphasis on our long-term priorities and growth prospects, particularly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific,” Ermotti said in a statement.

George Athanasopoulos and Marco Valla also join the executive board as co-presidents of the investment bank, alongside Damian Vogel, incoming global chief risk officer.

The trio replace outgoing board members Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Korner, UBS Asia-Pacific President Edmund Koh, and UBS Americas Regional President Naureen Hassan.

The reshuffle comes as part of a wider overhaul of the bank, following its emergency rescue last year of Credit Suisse — a shotgun marriage brokered by Swiss authorities to prevent the then 167-year-old institution’s collapse and protect the Swiss economy.

The FT reported Monday that UBS had ruled out an outsider as successor to Ermotti, who returned last year to steer the bank through its mammoth takeover.

The bank is said to be choosing from a shortlist of three internal candidates to assume the CEO role when Ermotti steps down in around three years’ time. A name could be announced as early as next year, sources told the FT.

UBS did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the reports.

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Edmund Shing, PhD

Global Chief Investment Officer
BNP Paribas Wealth Management

Edmund has over 29 years of experience in financial markets in a wide variety of positions, ranging from proprietary trading to portfolio manager in a number of financial institutions in London and Paris.  He previously held the role of Global Head of Equity and Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London from 2015 to 2020, and has been Chief Investment Officer at BNP Paribas Wealth Management since November 2020.

Edmund is responsible for piloting our investment strategy and will continues to rollout out recommendations and themes with actionable advice that brings our expertise to our clients and support to our client-facing teams.  In this time of change, his expertise in following and anticipating markets is a true value added for both our customers and those at Wealth Management who serve them.

Edmund has a PhD in Cognitive and Computing Science from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and has done advanced studies in Knowledge-Based Systems and in Experimental Psychology.  He is an EFFAS-certified financial analyst. He has also authored the book “The Idle Investor” published by Harriman House in 2015, proposing 3 simple investment strategies that take only a few minutes to execute per month.

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