UBS CEO - 'I Have No Magic Recipe To Inspire You...I Can Only Appeal To Your Professionalism'

Outside UBS

UBS's interim Group CEO has been busy writing to rally his troops, and staff got the following in their in-boxes earlier this week.

Here's the memo

'Dear colleagues,

It is with great respect that I have accepted the Board of Directors’ call to become CEO of the UBS Group at this critical time. I regard it both as an honor and as my duty to help steer the bank through the aftermath of the events that have taken place in the last few weeks. With our strong leadership team and the joint efforts of all of you, I am confident that we can deal with the internal and external challenges and emerge as an even stronger bank.

The current situation requires determined action and leadership from the whole Group Executive Board as a leadership team. The Board of Directors has given me full authority and responsibility as your Group CEO and I intend to exercise them fully.

The priorities that I and the rest of the GEB share and will address between now and the end of the year are clear. We will:

– ensure operational continuity and seek to prevent what has happened from affecting our day-to-day business with clients;

– support and conclude the internal and external investigations looking into the trading loss and, once we understand how this could happen, take all remedial actions required;

– finalize our strategic plans for communication at our Investor Day on November 17;

– review the effectiveness and efficiency of our bank's operating model;

– and, last but not least, communicate proactively about the issues that affect you, our clients and our shareholders.

We have already started to work on this.

The unauthorized trading incident has deeply frustrated all of us. It has dealt us a severe setback in our efforts to regain trust and make UBS the leading bank for our clients. However, after the shock of the first few days, we must now summon our collective strength to demonstrate what UBS stands for. We will not allow this incident to define us, nor will we permit it to undermine the achievements you made under Ossi's leadership in the past two-and-a-half years.

The fundamental position of our bank is strong, and we are looking to make it even stronger. We have adopted an integrated bank strategy, with complementary capabilities in wealth management, investment banking and asset management, as well as our corporate and retail businesses in Switzerland, and we will continue to pursue it. We have defined specific values integral to our daily work, and we will go on applying them. To be clear on one key point: The Investment Bank is a top player in many areas and an essential part of meeting the expectations of our private, corporate and institutional clients. We will continue to invest in our core capabilities, while the IB overall will be less complex, carry less risk and use less capital.

I know that over the past several years you have heard plenty of entreaties to continue doing your utmost and avoid being distracted. I imagine by now you are tired of them. I have no magic recipe to inspire you to redouble your efforts. I can only appeal to your professionalism, your loyalty and your determination to succeed. The only way I know of succeeding is for all of us to stand behind and follow through on our promise to our clients.

Unfortunately, with all the urgent tasks ahead, I cannot promise to immediately visit as many offices and meet as many of you personally as I would have wished. What I can promise is that I will do all I can to best serve UBS’s interests and will listen carefully to any feedback, be it from our staff, our clients or our shareholders.

We will not rest until we achieve our goals and in that respect I will be the first to do that. I look forward to working with you on the challenges ahead and thank you very much for your support.

Sergio P. Ermotti'

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