UBS loses its comms chief Michael Willi

City A.M. Reporter
UBS’S communications chief Michael Willi will leave the Swiss bank by April, according to a memorandum seen by Reuters, as management struggles to unite behind a plan to cut jobs.

Willi is resigning to take up an undisclosed new position elsewhere, UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti and operating chief Ulrich Koerner said in the memo to staff on Friday. UBS confirmed the contents of the memo.

As a standing guest at meetings of the Swiss bank’s 12-person top management board, Willi has had a front-row seat to management strife over a looming revamp, expected to include job cuts.

The 46-year-old Swiss-born Willi survived several management culls, including chief executive Peter Wuffli and former chairman Marcel Ospel, after losses of more than $50bn (£31bn) and a Swiss government bailout in 2008. He led a team of 250 people with a budget of roughly 250m Swiss francs.

Willi is the second top communications executive to leave in recent months. Swiss communications chief and former Tages-Anzeiger editor Peter Hartmeier, who reported to Willi, is taking early retirement next year.

UBS said Willi’s successor will be named in due course.