UBS reorganizes the board of directors with a view to the succession of the CEO

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UBS has reshuffled its executive board and divided responsibility for its all-important wealth management business between two of the managers most likely to succeed Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti.

Under the changes announced Thursday, wealth management head Iqbal Khan will move to Asia and become head of Asia-Pacific, while investment bank head Rob Karofsky will become head of the Americas.

Both men will share responsibility for the wealth management unit as co-presidents.

The Financial Times reported this week that UBS was planning to change the roles and responsibilities of executives it considered most likely to succeed Ermotti in the coming years to give them broader experience.

The bank’s board hopes to draw up a list of three internal candidates next year to be ready to replace Ermotti when he retires, which is not expected to be until at least 2027.

“The (group executive board) appointments we announce today will allow us to continue to advance our integration path and achieve the expected synergies and efficiencies, while placing even greater emphasis on our long-term priorities and growth prospects, particularly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific,” Ermotti said in a memo to staff, seen by the Financial Times.

The reorganization also sees Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Körner and UBS Americas head Naureen Hassan leaving the bank.

Körner would be the last chief executive in Credit Suisse’s 168-year history, having held the position when the Swiss bank was rescued by its fierce rival last year. He has remained in the role since the acquisition, but with the merger of the legal entities of the two banks set to be completed this week, he will be leaving.

Karofsky’s new role as head of the Americas will be especially important in the coming years, as UBS focuses on trying to grow its business in the region, where it lags behind Wall Street rivals, especially Morgan Stanley.

He is replaced as head of the investment bank by George Athanasopoulos and Marco Valla, who share the role of co-presidents. Athanasopoulos has held various roles at UBS investment bank, while Valla joined last year from Barclays.

Damian Vogel has taken over as chief risk officer, replacing Christian Bluhm, who had attempted to leave to become a photographer last year but was asked to remain in the role after the Credit Suisse acquisition.

Stefan Seiler, director of human resources and corporate services, will take responsibility for the group’s brand and communications, while Edmund Koh, who was president of Asia-Pacific, will leave the executive board and take on the role of regional president. of Asia-Pacific.

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