UBS Names Ulrich Koerner to Head Asset Management Unit

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said Ulrich Koerner will become the head of global asset management in 2014 as John Fraser retires.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Naratil, 52, will take on Koerner’s responsibilities as chief operating officer on top of his current duties, the Zurich-based bank said in a statement today. Koerner, 51, who joined UBS in 2009 from Credit Suisse Group AG, will take on the new role in addition to his position as head of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Fraser, 62, has been leading the business since 2001.

The changes will reduce UBS’s executive board from 11 members after the bank last year said it would restructure business, scale down the investment bank and focus on money management while cutting 10,000 jobs. Credit Suisse last year also reorganized its management, cutting the number of people on the executive board to nine from 11, and giving business heads additional regional responsibilities.

“I would like to thank John Fraser for the lasting contribution he has made as a leader, an executive board member and a colleague over the last 20 years,” UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said in the statement. “As we enter the next phase of our strategic transformation, I know I can draw on the proven leadership of my colleagues on the group executive board to continue effectively executing on our plans.”

Koerner, Gruebel

Fraser, who began his career at the Australian Treasury, joined Swiss Bank Corp., which later merged with Union Bank of Switzerland to form UBS, in Australia in 1993. He will assist in the transition and retain his position as chairman of asset management, UBS said.

Koerner was hired by former CEO Oswald Gruebel to cut costs at UBS after they turned around Credit Suisse six years earlier. UBS at the time decided to bundle all group-wide service and infrastructure units under Koerner to save costs. UBS’s operating expenses in the first nine months of this year are 15 percent lower than in the same period of 2008.

A dual German and Swiss-citizen, Koerner received a doctorate in business administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. After working as an auditor at Price Waterhouse and as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., he joined Credit Suisse in 1998. He was a member of Credit Suisse’s executive board from 2003 to 2008, holding positions including chief financial officer and chief operating officer and headed Swiss client business from 2006 to 2008.

Risk Control

UBS is also changing its corporate center organization, making group human resources, communications and branding and group regulatory relations and strategic initiatives report directly to Ermotti, 53, who took over from Gruebel in 2011 following a $2.3 billion loss sparked by rogue trading.

Compliance and operational risk control will be merged to form a new function, which will be headed by Colin Bell, head of operational risk, Ermotti said in a memo to staff today. A UBS spokesman confirmed the contents of the memo.

Bell will continue to report to Chief Risk Officer Philip Lofts, while working closely with legal department, led by general counsel Markus Diethelm. Andrew Williams, currently group head of compliance, will become general counsel for wealth management, the memo said.

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