The major revamp brings in younger executives to the management board and positions Iqbal Khan as a future CEO candidate.
Thursday 29, August 2019
UBS Group has overhauled its top ranks in a sweeping reshuffle, hiring ex-Credit Suisse Group banker Iqbal Khan for a key role that positions him as a potential successor to Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, reported Bloomberg.
Khan becomes co-head of the wealth management business, Tom Naratil, replacing ex-Commerzbank Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing, 56, who leaves at the end of the year, said the Zurich-based lender. As part of the changes, Ulrich Koerner—who was president of asset management and Europe, Middle East and Africa—will step down.
Koerner’s responsibilities will be divided between Suni Harford, who takes over asset management and Sabine Keller-Busse, who becomes president of EMEA.
UBS has been seeking to replenish its management board after the departure of investment banking head Andrea Orcel and former wealth head Juerg Zeltner and revive a share price that is underperformed its biggest rival this year.
Blessing’s departure had been widely expected after the global wealth management unit posted erratic results since the two former wealth businesses were combined into a single unit last year. Clients pulled $1.7 billion from the unit in the second quarter, where earnings were lower than expected.
Additionally, Blessing had earlier been seen as a contender to ultimately succeed Ermotti when he was appointed after about eight years in charge at Germany’s No. 2 bank, cementing his reputation by shrinking the bank’s pile of bad loans and restoring the dividend. At UBS he was known for a more formal approach that was seen as less effective in a business focused on servicing the needs of the world’s wealthy.
Khan’s appointments end speculation about his future after a rift with Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam prompted his departure. He joined the bank in his late 30s after a rapid ascent through the ranks of Ernst & Young‘s Zurich-based assurance division, where he audited UBS Group.
When Thiam joined Credit Suisse and revamped his executive team, Khan was already one of the most influential people there and his career accelerated after Thiam promoted him to lead international wealth management. Khan made a name for himself by helping to fold worldwide asset management and private banking activities into a single unit.