UBS wealth management chief close to an exit

Galtero Lara
Diciembre 15, 2017

It would mean a change at the top of one of the bank's major profit drivers, and the departure of a longtime veteran: Zeltner joined UBS predecessor Swiss Bank in 1987.

Juerg Zeltner, chief of the key $1.3T wealth-management unit at UBS, is readying an exit from the role, Bloomberg reports.

Martin Blessing, now president of personal and corporate banking and president UBS Switzerland, will take on Zeltner's role as president wealth management.

The move sparked speculation that Blessing, 54, was now in pole position to succeed Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti, who has given no signs of wanting to stand down any time soon.

"There was already speculation that Blessing wouldn't remain the head of Swiss retail banking forever", Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Javier Lodeiro said.

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Under Zeltner, UBS' private bank has not delivered the success that was hoped for under the 2012 pivot to wealth management.

Another German banker, former Bundesbank head Axel Weber, has been chairman of Switzerland's biggest bank for some years.

The wealth management business, now under new pressure in a low-rate environment, is getting new focus at UBS as it scales down its investment bank. Moreover, Sabine Keller-Busse, who now acts as head of the HR department at Commerzbank, will take on the role of COO.

Collardi quit the private bank for Swiss rival Pictet, without a succession plan, leaving Baer bosses to appoint chief risk officer Bernhard Hodler as temporary executive.

Baer declined to comment on whether Zeltner could be a candidate to replace Collardi as CEO, but Swiss banking sources said it is likely he could appear in another role elsewhere once a cooling-off period with UBS has elapsed.

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