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UBS in Early Talks with Former Bank of America Exec to Potentially Succeed CEO

January 7, 2019

Swiss-based UBS Group AG is in early talks with a former Bank of America executive to potentially succeed current CEO Sergio Ermotti, according to news reports.

UBS is discussing the possibility of Christian Meissner coming on board in a senior role that would line him up as potential successor, people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified tell Bloomberg.

Other executives are also under consideration, however, the sources tell the news service. UBS Chairman Axel Weber is looking for someone from outside the company, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month.

Weber tells the news service he and Ermotti are at “a point in time where you need to start thinking about what is it that you’re going to do and how you’re going to pass the bank over to your successors” but declined to comment about Meissner specifically.

“Part of what we do as a day-to-day business is to get as much talent into the bank as we can, good people, and in that process we are of course interviewing people,” Weber tells Bloomberg. “But again, I don’t want to confirm or deny any discussions on any individuals.’’

Under Ermotti, a former Merrill Lynch executive who joined UBS in 2011, the company has pivoted away from investment banking in favor of wealth management, the news service writes. Bank of America is the parent company of Merrill Lynch.

UBS is looking for Ermotti’s replacement following the 2017 departure of Juerg Zeltner, president of UBS Wealth Management, among other top executives, according to Bloomberg.

The company has since restructured its wealth management business, merging its Wealth Management Americas business with the main wealth management unit a year ago.

Martin Blessing, who had replaced Zeltner as president of UBS Wealth Management after his departure, and Tom Naratil, president of UBS Americas and Wealth Management Americas at the time, became co-presidents of the merged unit.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.