UBS Pushes Out Risk Chief; McCann to Head Americas Unit

Bob McCann takes over as CEO for the Americas business from Lofts, who re-assumes his role as chief risk officer for the global bank

UBS' New York headquarters. (Photo: AP) UBS' New York headquarters. (Photo: AP)

UBS (UBS) said Thursday that Philip Lofts is re-assuming his post as head of risk for the Swiss-based firm and that Bob McCann will now head UBS operations in the Americas. Maureen Miskovic, who had been chief risk officer for UBS since January, is leaving the firm.

The changes come two weeks after Sergio Ermotti was officially made CEO and are the first management rearrangement  since the trading scandal that cost the Swiss bank more than $2 billion in September. (Ermotti replaced Oswald Gruebel, who stepped down after the unauthorized trades were discovered.)

"Bob McCann has always been viewed positively by the retail salesforce whether at UBS or at his former firm, Merrill Lynch," said Mark Elzweig, an executive search consultant in New York, in an interview with AdvisorOne. "He's regarded as someone who really understands the concerns and issues of brokers. I think that UBS advisors will be very happy with this news."

Robert McCannMcCann (left) came to UBS in 2009, after leading Merrill Lynch’s wealth-management operations. In addition to his new role as CEO of UBS Group Americas, which includes about 6,900 advisors, McCann will continue to lead UBS Wealth Management Americas. (On Wednesday, UBS adopted a mobile-technology strategy for its U.S.-based financial advisors.)

Lofts, who joined UBS in 1984, was chief risk officer of the global bank between November 2008 and December 2010 and became CEO of UBS Americas in January 2011, when Miskovic was tapped as the group’s new CRO.   

Also on Thursday, UBS said Ulrich Körner (who joined UBS in 2009) will take over the role of CEO UBS Group Europe, Middle East and Africa in addition to his current role as COO of the UBS Group and CEO of the bank’s corporate center.

“All these changes are effective immediately. Philip J. Lofts, Robert J. McCann and Ulrich Körner continue to be members of the group executive board,” UBS said in a press release.

Before joining UBS in January, when Lofts moved to the United States, Miskovic had been a risk officer at State Street Corp. and Lehman Brothers.

UBS spokeswoman Tatiana Togni said in a Bloomberg report on Thursday that Miskovic’s departure was unrelated to the unauthorized trades.

Christopher Wheeler, a London-based analyst at Mediobanca SpA, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “With this appointment and the previous chief risk officer leaving, UBS confirms that risk management procedures were far from perfect.” Wheeler rates UBS shares as “underperform.”

The former UBS employee accused of unauthorized trading, Kweku Adoboli, was (on Nov. 22) given four more weeks to enter a plea on the charges he faces. He has been held since Sept. 15.

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