According to the Bloomberg news agency, Sergio Ermotti’s resignation as UBS boss could soon become a fact.
At Credit Suisse (CS), Thomas Gottstein has taken the lead this week. CEO Tidjane Thiam had to resign because of the shadowing affair.
What’s going on at CS this week is also pending at UBS. Sergio Ermotti has been in office for 8 years – as long as no other CEO of a European bank.
The president: The largest Swiss bank is about to change management. The discussions about the succession have been going on for months. They were really launched last summer by the UBS President personally: Axel Weber said in an interview with the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” that he was actively looking for a successor to Ermotti.
The speculations: After the public appearance of UBS President Weber, the hour was a matter of speculation about the date when Ermotti would step down. In November, the media said that the UBS CEO wanted to step down from the 2021 general meeting. And since Thursday evening you can read that Ermotti from Ticino will probably leave office this year.
The scenario: If the latest speculations have a spark of truth, it could happen quickly. If a candidate is available, it is conceivable that Ermotti will announce his resignation in the next few weeks. The 2019 financial year has ended successfully and the UBS boss filled the top management with new people in autumn. For example, he made the former CS top banker Iqbal Khan co-head of wealth management.
The Board of Directors: So far, the most likely scenario was that Ermotti would remain until the end of President Weber’s term – and then directly inherit Weber on the board. But if Ermotti resigns soon, he will probably make a detour as a simple member of the board of directors, in order to take over the presidency by 2022 at the latest.
The new: Iqbal Khan, together with Tom Narratil, leads the core business of the world’s largest wealth management bank. So Khan was repeatedly acted as a successor to Ermottis. But if you believe the statements of Axel Weber in an interview with the «NZZ», this is rather not the case. “The use of external candidates should remain the exception,” said Weber last August.
The women: It was time for a woman to take over the management of the largest Swiss bank. Mainly because two would be available at UBS. Sabine Keller-Busse manages the operational business of UBS and is also President for the regions of Europe, Middle East and Africa. And Suni Harford heads UBS Asset Management. Keller-Busse should have slight advantages because it has been on the UBS Executive Board since 2016; Hartford only since mid-2019.
Tagesschau, 07.02.2020, 7.30 p.m.