Those who know UBS, think the bank’s Friday appointment of former UniCredit investment banker Sergio Ermotti, is part of a succession plan for current CEO Oswald Gruebel, the Wall Street Journal reports.On Friday evening, Ermotti was named head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the Swiss bank. He was also added to the 13-person management board.
Ermotti is 50 years old, loves to ski, is an Oxford grad and a native of Switzerland – the latter point seemingly a major indicator that the former Merrill Lynch banker nicely fits the UBS head honcho profile.
From the WSJ,
In hiring Ermotti, who represents one of UBS’s biggest and most senior hires following a management shake-out, UBS appears to be setting the stage for him to replace Gruebel.
At first glance, Ermotti, who will be based in Zurich, ticks most of the boxes investors and shareholders would expect from a CEO of UBS. He has exposure at a major bulge-bracket investment bank from working at Merrill Lynch & Co Inc. and was respected by investors as deputy CEO at UniCredit. Moreover, Ermotti is Swiss…
Apparently another reason that Ermotti could rise swifty to chief status, is that there’s no real internal competition. The other possibilities are too young, with too little exposure “outside their specialist areas.”
Ermotti was with Merrill Lynch for 18 years before he moved to UniCredit as their top i-banker, where his former co-workers say he was “a good team builder.” But that’s way less interesting than the fact that he was reportedly “always impeccably dressed” at at Merrill.
Other random details include:
- Making his first investment at 17 or 18. He bought a bond for its yield, he told Reuters.
- His first loss came at the hands of a disappointing silver investment in the late 1970s, which he believes was good for his financial edification: “You make money, you lose money. You need to live with this reality,” he said.
- His favourite films are The Sting and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
- He’ll take sports over reading, thought he wishes he devoted more time to the latter.
UBS wouldn’t comment on the succession plan. But here’s what they said about their new hire:
“With this outstanding track record, in-depth industry experience and leadership skills Sergio will be a great addition to my management team, and the UBS organisation in EMEA will benefit from his broad knowledge in the financial services industry,” Grübel said.
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