UBS announced on Thursday morning that Jürg Zeltner, current head of its wealth management division, will be stepping down at the end of the year. The giant Swiss bank did not provide any additional details regarding the situation, leaving the public to wonder what exactly led to the sudden decision. Mr. Zeltner had been a leading candidate to become the next Chief Executive Officer.
UBS will now turn to former Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing to replace him as the head of the division. Mr. Blessing comes from a family of bankers, and he served as CEO at Commerzbank for eight years. Following his departure in 2016, he became Head of Personal & Corporate Banking as well as President of UBS Switzerland. As he looks to take on his new role, Blessing will leave his current position in the hands of Axel Lehmann, who will be promoted from Chief Operating Officer. Moreover, Sabine Keller-Busse, who currently acts as head of the HR department at Commerzbank, will take on the role of COO.
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Mr. Blessing’s rich background and experience will be a crucial asset to such an important division. According to Scorpio Partnership’s Global Private Banking Benchmark 2017, UBS is the world’s largest wealth manager, with more than 2 trillion US dollars in assets under management in 2016.
Mr. Zeltner, who has been with UBS for three decades (since 1987), has yet to make his future plans publicly known. His departure marks the second major change atop the Swiss banking sector in as many weeks. Roughly two weeks ago, Julius Baer’s CEO Boris Collardi stepped down, in order to take on a partnership role at Pictet Group. Mr. Collardi, who had maintained his position as CEO since 2009, was quickly replaced by Chief Risk Officer Bernhard Hodler. There is currently no indication that the two events are correlated.