UBS Names Salles, 2 Directors to Lead Brazilian Units

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UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, appointed Lywal Salles to oversee business in Brazil and named two other senior directors to lead investment banking and brokerage units in the country.

As chairman of UBS Group Brazil, Salles will be responsible for all of the bank’s operations there, Zurich-based UBS said in a statement today. It named Eduardo Centola, 42, chief executive officer of UBS Investment Bank in Brazil. Daniel Mendonca Barros, 40, will lead the firm’s brokerage and securities units there after UBS completes the acquisition of Link Investimentos.

“We are committed to bringing leading talent into our Brazil operation to drive the growth and competitiveness of our business,” Carsten Kengeter, co-CEO of UBS Investment Bank, said in the statement. “With the addition of these seasoned leaders, we believe that we are building strong momentum to regain a leading position in Brazil.”

The firm is seeking to bolster business in Brazil after selling its Pactual unit in April last year for $2.5 billion as it sought to free up capital. UBS, the European bank with the highest losses from the credit crisis, is competing with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and local players including Banco Itau BBA and Banco BTG Pactual SA, as growth in Latin America’s biggest economy fuels private-equity deals, stock offerings and bond sales.

Expansion Efforts

UBS started a wealth-management unit in Brazil last month and in April agreed to buy brokerage Link Investimentos for about $112 million to gain access to licenses for doing business in the country. Fernanda Pasquarelli, executive director of asset management at UBS in Brazil, said last month the bank is considering acquisitions.

The Swiss bank fell to 13th place this year among underwriters of equity and equity-linked offerings by Brazilian companies from 10th last year and seventh in 2008, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Itau ranks third, while BTG Pactual is in seventh place.

Salles has been chairman of Banco Itau Holding Financeira SA’s private banking units Banco Itau Europa International and Itau Europa Securities, according to today’s statement. He previously led Itau Private Bank and held positions at Citigroup Inc., including as regional director in Latin America for high net worth clients. He will report to Robert Wolf, head of UBS’s Americas unit, and Raul Esquivel, who leads investment banking in Latin America, the company said.

Centola was hired from Standard Bank Group Ltd., where he worked starting in February 2009 as CEO for the Americas. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs.

Mendonca Barros was a founding partner of Link Investimentos. He will be responsible for equities and fixed-income in Brazil, reporting to Centola and Neal Shear, global head of securities at UBS, according to the statement.

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