UBS asks former boss Sergio Ermotti to oversee Credit Suisse takeover

UBS asks former boss Sergio Ermotti to oversee the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse

Banking giant UBS has called former boss Sergio Ermotti back to oversee the emergency takeover of stricken rival Credit Suisse.

Less than two weeks after the shotgun wedding to save Credit Suisse from collapse was agreed, UBS said Ermotti will retake the reins, having run the company for nine years before stepping down in 2020.

He replaces UBS chief executive Ralph Hamers, who helped broker the £2.6billion rescue deal this month but has agreed to step down.

Summit: From left, UBS boss Ralph Hamers, Sergio Ermotti and UBS chairman Colm Kelleher meet in Zurich, Switzerland

The bank said that it had acted ‘in light of the new challenges and priorities facing UBS after the announcement of the acquisition’.

Ermotti steered the Zurich bank through the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown, a rogue-trading scandal in 2011 where it lost £1.6billion and the start of the pandemic.

UBS chairman Colm Kelleher said: ‘I am very confident that Sergio will deliver the successful integration so essential for both banks’ clients, employees and investors, and for Switzerland. I know Sergio will hit the ground running.’

Victoria Scholar, an analyst at Interactive Investor, said that he was a ‘dab hand at crisis management’.

Ashley Pittard, head of global equities at investment management firm Pendal, said: ‘Without a doubt, he is the right person for the job.

‘He’s the guy you want to right the ship as the executive and then become the chairperson for the longer term.

‘Sergio was in the trenches during and post the global financial crisis when UBS was in a lot of trouble.’ 

Hamers said he was ‘stepping aside in the interests of the new combined entity and its stakeholders, including Switzerland and its financial sector’.

As many as 40,000 jobs are set to be lost across the combined 120,000 workforce.

Kelleher said his main aim was to align Credit Suisse with the ‘conservative risk culture’ at UBS. 

Part of this plan is cutting back Credit Suisse’s sprawling investing banking arm – something that Ermotti did at UBS in 2011.