Note update below.
Yesterday, something telling happened on UBS trading floor, we hear from a source at UBS.
During a big meeting in Stamford called The Gathering of the Eagles, the people of UBS gave Bob McCann, the CEO of Wealth Management Americas, a standing ovation.
It’s notable because for one, McCann has only been at UBS for a year. He came over from Merrill Lynch, where he was the head of Wealth Management, to replace Marten Hoekstra, who had been at the firm for 26 years.
He’s also a big personality. He fought publicly with Bank of America for trying to keep him from joining UBS (because of a non-compete) back in 2009. (He sued the bank and and won.) He’s a vocal Republican who’s a big fan of Chris Christie, and now apparently, he’s a UBS favourite.
But what’s more interesting is that Oswald Gruebel, the firm’s CEO, had walked onto the trading floor just moments before McCann. The the audience politely clapped. Then “some other Swiss guy,” in the words of our source, walked onto the desk.
Then McCann walks in, and the audience erupts. A 800-person standing, clapping, “crazy” ovation welcomes him onto the floor.
The difference in how the men were received by their subordinates is an interesting example of firm politics. Gruebel is technically more powerful than McCann, but McCann has a pretty ballsy 800-strong army behind him.
Their applause told their CEO plainly, this guy is our man.
UPDATE: That’s one man’s opinion.
Another person at the company interpreted what happened another way. He tells us:
You’ve gotta be kidding me right? Whoever gave u guys that info must have a huge boner for Bob McCann [because] Ossie was welcomed and clapped for as well. Bob did NOT get a standing ovation, just slightly louder clapping. Robert Wolf got a pretty good applause but it’s all about the personality and how the closing statement went. The guys who knew how to stir an audience and end their session definitively, were able to produce appropriate applause. But “some swiss guy,” Ulrich Kroner, didn’t really leave any room for applause, just kinda ended and walked off the stage, ya know?
But all in all, Bob McCan should def[initely] be recognised for his job well done and in no way was my rant meant to detract from that.