With a triumvirate, UBS is creating a management collective that is new in the industry and which can better accommodate the high complexity of a major bank.
For the second time, UBS has succeeded in a surprise coup. Already with the appointment of Ralph Hamers Hardly anyone expected to be CEO of the largest Swiss bank in November 2020. And now with Colm Kelleher (Picture below) who succeeds President Axel Weber will take over in April 2022, a person will also appear who previously received little attention, at least in Switzerland.
In both cases, it is experienced bankers who are quite capable of moving UBS forward, even if they supposedly do not have all the qualities it needs today. It has been assumed that Hamers does not know the growth market of Asia and that he has little knowledge of wealth management. So far, however, this has not harmed the bank’s success.
And even now you can complain about Kelleher that he is not, for example, Swiss or “just” an investment banker. If you dwell on such details, you should study your professional résumé carefully. In this context, however, it is more interesting that the nomination of Kellehers is accompanied by another personality – that of Lukas Gähwiler, (Picture below), who is promoted to Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In this way, UBS not only secures its “Swissness” credibly within the supervisory body, but also proves that the opinion that only undivided power and only the famous “strong” man lead to success is a little outdated, and especially not when it comes to complex tasks is more durable.
“Complex organizations, such as a UBS, can practically no longer map the requirements of a chairman in just one person,” says the Zurich headhunter Reto Jauch in conversation with finews.ch. Meeting these requirements with a good mix of people and additionally defining the roles is “very smart and mature,” says Jauch.
The American management expert already knows that strong management teams with a clear division of tasks achieve better results Jim Collins set out in his bestseller “Good to great”. Such constellations also allow self-reflection and sparring opportunities for leaders – and avoid the hubris that often follows a concentration of power.
As finews.ch reported earlier, the board of directors asked CEO Hamers (Picture above) included. This is unusual, but it also proves how important the UBS supervisory board has placed on building a triumvirate (Kelleher, Gähwiler and Hamers) to manage the largest Swiss bank.
The only open question is how much Hamers will be absorbed by the judicial investigations in Holland; Due to his previous position as CEO of the Dutch ING group, he is responsible for suspected aiding and abetting tax evasion.
Compared to Credit Suisse
“In my experience, successful leaders and companies are characterized by the fact that they complement each other with strong personalities and are not afraid of real sparring partners,” confirms headhunter Jauch.
According to the latest announcement from UBS, a comparison with Credit Suisse (CS) suggests itself. Although the CS has António Horta Osório meanwhile a charismatic and obviously hands-on president on board. But as long as the industry and the media about his relationship with the CEO Thomas Gottstein speculate and at the same time various management positions in the (extended) group management are still vacant, UBS is ahead of its rival in management terms.
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