The global banking giant UBS is bracing for a significant restructuring within its investment banking division. Following the emergency acquisition of Credit Suisse in June, the transformation marks a critical juncture in the integration process.
The restructuring underscores a determined, though possibly brutal, effort by UBS to merge operations with Credit Suisse, casting the future of tens of thousands of jobs into uncertainty.
Shake-up at the Top: Leaders on the Move
The upcoming changes encompass various dealmaking sectors within UBS, including healthcare, consumer/retail, financial sponsors, and equity capital markets.
In this restructuring tsunami, some Credit Suisse bankers are expected to climb the ranks in the combined entity, while others face an exit. Concurrently, a number of UBS bankers will also be departing due to the shuffle.
CEO Sergio Ermotti, the orchestrator of this integration, has been candid about the painful nature of the process. High-profile discussions regarding potential exits and appointments are already underway.
For instance, Jeff Rose, UBS’s global head of consumer products and retail deals, may be replaced by Jon Levin from Credit Suisse.
Matt Eilers, UBS’s global head of financial sponsors, is in talks about a possible departure, while Rob DiGia, global head of healthcare, could assume a chairman-level role.
Sources intimate to the matter have warned that the restructuring plans are not yet finalized, and the precise details remain in a state of flux.
Official announcements are still pending, and key figures involved in the changes, including Rose, Levin, Eilers, and DiGia, remain tight-lipped, along with UBS’s official spokesperson.
Rebuilding and Regaining Ground in the Market
Aiming for market rejuvenation, UBS is focusing on technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Laurence Braham, formerly of Barclays, is being considered as the global co-head of technology.
Christian Lesueur, current global head of TMT investment banking, would share this role, while newcomers like Steve Pettigrew and Neil Meyer are in line to spearhead software M&A and global media and communications dealmaking, respectively.
This aggressive reshuffling occurs as UBS seeks to reclaim its dealmaking market share. In a concerning dip, the bank slipped to eighth place in Refinitiv’s global mergers and acquisitions league table in the first half of 2023, down from sixth just a year prior.
In the Americas, UBS suffered an even steeper decline, tumbling from seventh to fourteenth place.
These changes are not only about leadership but also signal a broader cost-cutting strategy. Recent reports suggest that UBS might eliminate about a third of the combined group’s global workforce, potentially slashing 30,000-35,000 jobs.
The upcoming overhaul at UBS demonstrates a no-nonsense approach to integrating Credit Suisse, reflecting the determination to unify teams and improve market standings. The impact will be profound and will reach all corners of the organization.
However, the road to integration appears fraught with difficulties and potential pitfalls. It’s a risky move, and only time will tell if this audacious strategy will pay dividends or cause further upheaval.
In the world of finance, where stability often equals success, the unapologetically critical and outright brave restructuring of UBS sends a message to the industry – that change, no matter how painful, is sometimes a necessary step toward rejuvenation.