Axel Weber hands over UBS in excellent shape

Axel Weber

After ten years in office, the UBS Chairman of the Board of Directors will step down in spring 2022.

(Photo: REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann)

When Axel Weber took over as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the major Swiss bank UBS in the spring of 2012, it almost seemed like an escape from Germany: A year earlier, he had thrown in the dispute over the euro crisis policy of the European Central Bank as President of the Bundesbank – and was out by then at the latest out of the running for the ECB top. At Deutsche Bank – where CEO Josef Ackermann would have liked to see him as his successor – the power struggle over personnel subsequently dragged on for so long that Weber feared damage to his person and at some point also ran away.

But what some observers initially rated as a defiant reaction – according to the motto: Then I’ll just go to the competition – turned out to be a great success story in the end. Because when Weber resigns next spring after ten years as a shirt-sleeved UBS chief supervisor, he will be handing over a well-ordered house in every respect: UBS, which, despite its trimmed investment banking, is reliably earning billions again, has put aside its uncertainty and is now with its core business Asset management is not just the undisputed number one in Switzerland. It also has the best prerequisites for the wave of consolidation among the European financial institutions, which, despite all prophecies of doom, will come at some point.

The renovator has done his job and – unlike some supervisory board bosses among the DAX companies – resigns himself. That’s right, even if it means a turning point for UBS.

Even more important: Weber has already paved the bank’s way into the digital future by installing the tech-savvy Dutchman Ralph Hamers as the new CEO. UBS is well advised to consistently continue on this path.

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He has not yet revealed to anyone what Weber will do in the future. He will be 65 years old next year, too early for retirement, confidants say. One can be curious. Weber, it is said, always thinks and plans in decades.

More: The new Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank has many strengths – and two weaknesses

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