Sept 24 (Reuters) - The following is a memo to staff at UBS from the Swiss Bank’s interim head Sergio Ermotti and Chairman Kaspar Villiger, following Saturday’s resignation as CEO of Oswald Gruebel.
Dear colleagues, By now you will have read the announcement contained in the attached press release, which states that the Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Oswald J. Gruebel and has appointed Sergio P. Ermotti as Group CEO on an interim basis. The Board and GEB deeply regret his decision, but Oswald Gruebel felt a personal duty in the best interests of the firm to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident. During Oswald Gruebel’s tenure as CEO, he achieved an impressive turnaround and strengthened the firm fundamentally, making UBS one of the world’s best capitalized banks. We have the highest respect for all Oswald Gruebel has done for UBS. His dedication to the success of the firm and his relentless commitment to clients, shareholders and employees have always been exemplary. There will be enormous challenges in the coming weeks and months and we are confident that we can realign UBS to deal with the new market environment facing the financial services industry. The first priority of the GEB will be to finalize the business plans essential to implementing the realignment strategy as discussed in today’s announcement. The strength of our bank lies in our ability to offer demanding private, corporate and institutional clients a broad range of services and products in all the major markets of the world from a single source. We will focus even more on this capability in the future. Another of our priorities will be to fully support the independent enquiry into the unauthorized trading incident. As soon as the results of it are available, we will take the necessary steps to prevent another incident with such far-reaching consequences to occur in our bank again. We understand how great your personal frustration must be about this incident, especially in light of the reputational damage borne by UBS at a time when we were making such good progress. In spite of the incident, however, UBS’s financial standing today is rock solid. Speculation regarding what occurred is likely to continue for some time yet. Our clients, colleagues and friends will ask legitimate questions to which we won’t always have answers at the time. Please do not allow yourselves to get involved in speculation. We will ensure that you receive material to support you in such conversations. At the moment it is more important than ever for us to keep focused on our daily business. Precisely at challenging times like this we have to be there for our clients. What has happened is serious, but there is no reason why it should affect our core business. Under Oswald Gruebel’s leadership during the last two-and-a-half years, you all achieved a tremendous amount. Now we have to continue down the path we have chosen. Let’s all get on with our job. If we pull together we can make sure that we handle this latest phase in our 150-year history professionally. Thank you for your support. Kaspar Villiger, on behalf of the Board of Directors Sergio P. Ermotti, on behalf of the Group Executive Board (Editing by John Stonestreet)