UBS Group AG promoted Niels Zilkens to lead the firm’s wealth business in the Middle East after the unit was stung by departures in the midst of management changes.
(Bloomberg) — UBS Group AG promoted Niels Zilkens to lead the firm’s wealth business in the Middle East after the unit was stung by departures in the midst of management changes.
Bruno Daher, who was promoted to be UBS’s top executive for the wealth management division in the Middle East just three months ago, will now be chairman of the division, according to a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News. Zilkens is planning to announce his own leadership team shortly, the memo said.
“Our clients in the region are eager to move forward and do business with the new UBS,” Christl Novakovic, who leads UBS’s wealth management business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in the memo. “I’m confident that Niels’ extensive experience and deep understanding of this market will help us realize our high growth aspirations for this strategic sector.”
A spokeswoman for UBS confirmed the contents of the memo and declined to comment further.
Daher, who was previously Credit Suisse’s top executive in the Gulf region, had a management style that was a lightning rod for some employees. While it made Credit Suisse a regional powerhouse in the Middle East, it also fostered a brutal workplace, Bloomberg News has previously reported.
Read More: Credit Suisse Staff Exit Mideast Amid Tales of Toxic Culture (1)
After Daher was named Novakovic’s top deputy in the Middle East in July, Ali Janoudi, who previously ran UBS’s wealth business for the Middle East and Africa, resigned from the Swiss lender.
The latest change comes at a critical juncture for UBS, which is in the middle of implementing one of the biggest mergers ever in global finance.
To that end, Daher’s original appointment was unusual: Most of the newly combined firm’s top leadership ranks have been filled by longtime UBS executives. Even the executive board contains only one Credit Suisse holdover, Ulrich Koerner, who remains CEO of the acquired bank.
“I would like to thank Bruno for his support during the critical time of the integration,” Novakovic said in the memo. “He was instrumental in stabilizing the business and the client asset outflows. Bruno will now focus on strategic aspects of the Middle East business, client win-back and in particular, ensuring cross-divisional client delivery, to grow our franchise.”
–With assistance from Nicolas Parasie and Dale Crofts.
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