UBS' Wolf to leave bank, start own firm

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:56pm EDT

Robert Wolf, Chairman, UBS Americas and President, UBS Investment Bank speaks at the panel discussion 'Wall Street, Main Street and the Beltway: Forging a Better Relationship' at the 2011 The Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Robert Wolf, Chairman, UBS Americas and President, UBS Investment Bank speaks at the panel discussion 'Wall Street, Main Street and the Beltway: Forging a Better Relationship' at the 2011 The Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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(Reuters) - Robert Wolf, a veteran UBS AG (UBSN.VX) executive, is leaving the Swiss bank to start an advisory and consulting firm, according to an internal memo from the bank on Thursday.

Wolf, who is based in New York and is a major fundraiser for the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama, has worked at UBS and some of its predecessor firms for 18 years. He ran several fixed income businesses and leaves as chairman of UBS Americas and president of UBS's global investment banking business. He began his career in the fixed-income sales and trading division of Salomon Brothers.

His departure to start 32 Advisors, LLC, a name commemorating his uniform number as a running back at the University of Pennsylvania, follows an almost complete revamp of senior management at Switzerland's largest bank company, including the hiring of former Merrill Lynch executive Sergio Ermotti as chief executive late last year.

Wolf, 50, who declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed, was perceived as losing power recently to Robert McCann, another Merrill veteran who runs UBS's wealth management business in the United States and was recently named chief executive of all bank businesses in the Americas.

McCann tried to constrain Wolf's public activities in support of Obama, according to an article last month in The New York Times.

"Robert and Bob always had a solid and productive working relationship," said UBS spokeswoman Karina Byrne, denying the report.

McCann and two other senior executives in the United States sent a memo to employees saying that the bank, which had a $2 billion loss in London last year, will be the first client of 32 Advisors when Wolf officially leaves at the end of the month.

"He will continue to work on current mandates, pitches and generating new business for UBS," the memo said.

(Reporting by Jed Horowitz and Paritosh Bansal)

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