FILE PHOTO – Iqbal Khan, CEO International Wealth Management of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, speaks during “The Wealth Management Industry – Into the next decade” at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit, Park Hyatt hotel, Zurich Switzerland, June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
March 29, 2019
By Oliver Hirt and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank Julius Baer is considering Credit Suisse’s international wealth management head Iqbal Khan as a possible successor to its chief executive Bernhard Hodler, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Khan, who was hired by Chairman Urs Rohner in 2013 and promoted to lead the newly created International Wealth Management business in 2015, had also been tipped as a potential future chief executive of Credit Suisse.
Although Hodler has been Julius Baer CEO for less than one-and-a-half years, Baer’s board is already assessing potential successors, the sources said.
Julius Baer has axed jobs and cut growth targets this year after it was hit by challenging markets in 2018, and its shares are down 28 percent since Hodler took over.
Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank declined to comment on whether it or its new chairman are seeking to replace Hodler, while Credit Suisse declined to comment on the situation.
Hodler was chief risk officer at Zurich-based Julius Baer before the departure of his predecessor Boris Collardi, who also rose through the ranks of Credit Suisse, to unlisted Pictet.
Since taking the top job, Hodler has been trying to overhaul Julius Baer’s compliance practices following several inquiries related to bribery and corruption probes involving its clients.
In Khan, Julius Baer would gain a high-profile private banker in his early forties who has helped bring in a new generation of young, entrepreneurial clients for Credit Suisse.
Credit Suisse’s private banking operations outside of Switzerland and Asia Pacific have cut costs and layers of middle management, boosting profits and inflows under Khan, while the bank was undergoing a major restructuring.
If Khan were to leave, there are a handful of Credit Suisse executives who would be in the running to replace him.
These include Benjamin Cavalli, head of private banking in South Asia, Yves Sommerhalder, co-head of the bank’s International Trading Solutions, Serge Fehr, head of private banking and wealth management in the Swiss division, Eric Varvel, head of Asset Management in IWM, and Felix Baumgartner, head of premium clients in Switzerland, one source said.
Swiss Universal Bank head Thomas Gottstein and Investment Banking & Capital Markets boss Jim Amine would also be in the mix, the source added.
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Alexander Smith)