In the Spotlight: Grübel in the pink as UBS shows strong signs of recovery

Oswald Grübel
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The Independent Online

Happy days for Oswald Grübel as UBS, the bank he was appointed to turn around, beat analysts' forecasts with a SwF2.2bn (£1.3bn) profit in the first quarter of this year. Mr Grübel was hired in February 2009 to lead the reorganisation of UBS, once the most prestigious Swiss bank, whose reputation was shattered by the credit crunch when it was forced to go cap-in-hand to the Swiss government.

It has also been grappling with demands from American authorities to supply information about its customers as part of a US tax fraud investigation, which has prompted rich clients to pull out billions of francs from the all-important wealth management division.

The Germans and the Italians have also been applying pressure that threatens to strain or even break Switzerland's long cherished tradition of banking secrecy. But from an operational standpoint at least, Mr Grübel appears to have stabilised UBS. A former chief executive of Credit Suisse, the German was appointed by UBS to replace Marcel Rohner.

Mr Grübel is a career banker with direct experience of investment and private banking, the two mainstays of UBS's business. His biggest achievement was in turning around Credit Suisse, where he was co-chief executive and then sole boss from 2003 to 2007.

Credit Suisse was once a byword for scandal but Mr Grübel, 66, was responsible for restoring the fortunes of the company, which did far better in the credit crunch than its great rival. Still, Mr Grübel is courting controversy in one respect: UBS's recovery means more bonuses for its bankers.

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