UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti has shortlisted the Credit Suisse executives he plans to make part of his management team, betting they can help make a success of the most significant banking deal since the financial crisis.
Among the Credit Suisse executives most likely to survive the takeover are Dixit Joshi, chief financial officer, Francesca McDonagh, chief operating officer, and André Helfenstein, head of the Swiss business, according to several people familiar with the plans.
Ermotti, who returned to run UBS in March after the bank agreed to rescue its Zurich rival in a $3.25bn deal orchestrated by Swiss authorities, is planning to unveil his new top team in the next week, with the takeover due to be completed by early June.
UBS is preparing for a costly and risky integration process as it attempts to combine two global systemically important financial institutions in the most significant banking deal since the financial crisis.
Colm Kelleher, the bank’s chair, has said the integration could take up to four years, while elements of the deal — including the decision by Finma, the Swiss banking regulator, to wipe out $17bn worth of bonds — are being challenged in the courts.
The completion of the deal hinges on receiving regulatory approval and sign off from competition authorities. While most main regulators have given a green light, the European Commission said the EU’s antitrust bodies will make a decision by June 7.
Joshi and McDonagh joined Credit Suisse late last year, leaving them untainted by the bank’s recent scandals.
Joshi started as CFO on October 1 and was immediately thrust into the bank’s efforts to hold on to fleeing customers following a damaging weekend of social media rumours about its financial health.
He was heavily involved in the bank’s $4.3bn capital raise in his first few weeks in the job. His brief stint in the role has also been marked by Credit Suisse delaying the release of its annual report in March after the US Securities and Exchange Commission made some last minute requests for additional information over its internal controls dating back to 2019.
McDonagh, who left her role as chief executive of Bank of Ireland to join Credit Suisse, was hired to be head of the Emea region. But before she started, she was given the COO role and instructed to oversee a huge restructuring of the business.
As part of cutting $2.8bn in costs over three years, she had begun to reassess Credit Suisse’s global office footprint — including its underused 21-storey London headquarters in Canary Wharf, which it leases from the Qatar Investment Authority. But that review was put on hold when the deal with UBS was struck.
Helfenstein has run Credit Suisse’s domestic bank for the past three years and is the longest-serving executive board member, having joined when Thomas Gottstein became chief executive in 2020.
UBS executives see Credit Suisse’s domestic business as its “jewel in the crown” and would prefer to keep it intact. But combining it with UBS’s own Swiss business has proved unpopular domestically and executives have said all options are on the table for the unit.
Last week Swiss newspaper NZZ reported that Tom Naratil, who ran UBS’s US business and was co-head of its wealth management division until last year, would return as part of the new management team as chief financial officer.
Naratil has undertaken a finance role at West Point, the US military academy, this year, having left UBS in October. He had previously been UBS’s CFO between 2011 and 2015.
UBS declined to comment on plans for the new executive team.