UBS replaces investment banking boss

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The Independent Online

UBS has replaced its investment banking chief after just a year and split the role into two, as its new chief executive, Oswald Grübel, looks to make his mark at the beleaguered Swiss group.

UBS, which reported Sfr19.7bn (£12bn) losses last year, announced yesterday that Jerker Johansson had resigned with immediate effect as chief executive of UBS Investment Bank.

No reasons were given for the move, but it is understood that Mr Grübel backed the decision. Mr Johansson only joined UBS in March last year, after 23 years at Morgan Stanley.

This is the latest in a series of upheavals at UBS. The group, which has axed 11,000 staff since the start of the credit crunch and said this month that it would cut a further 8,700, has also recently seen its chairman, Peter Kurer, step down. He will be replaced by Kaspar Villiger, a former Swiss finance minister.

Mr Johansson's replacements as joint chief executive will be Alex Wilmot-Sitwell and Carsten Kengeter, both internal promotions, the bank said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Wilmot-Sitwell joined UBS in 1996. He has been a joint global head in the investment banking department since 2005, as well as chairman and chief executive of operations in Europe, Middle East & Africa since January 2008.

Mr Kengeter joined in September as joint global head of the group's fixed income, currencies and commodities business. Mr Grübel said the pair "will continue to build on the strong core businesses of our investment bank and remediate our legacy risk".

Speculation has dogged UBS that it would look to spin off its investment banking arm, after heavily cutting back on the division during the financial downturn.

Yesterday, Mr Grübel reaffirmed the bank's commitment, saying it "is indispensable to our global firm and to our integrated business model".

Mr Grübel was appointed this February in a surprise move, replacing Marcel Rohner, who was in the role less than two years. He came out of retirement after spending almost 40 years at arch-rival Credit Suisse.

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