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Sideways: ‘Killer’ Karofsky reigns alone at UBS

Rob Karofsky will become sole president of the investment bank at UBS, ending his ‘odd couple’ partnership with co-president Piero Novelli.


Euromoney pointed out the injustice when Rob Karofsky got second billing in the announcement in 2018 that he and Novelli were appointed co-presidents of the investment bank at UBS, to fill the impeccably tailored hole left by the resignation of Andrea Orcel.

Karofsky’s securities division was generating more than twice the revenue of Novelli’s advisory and capital markets unit at the time and the gap has only widened in the intervening years.

Equities sales and trading brought in $4.5 billion last year or close to 50% of all investment bank revenue. The advisory group generated just $634 million of revenue in 2020.

Ralph Hamers, who took over as group chief executive at UBS from Sergio Ermotti in November, stated that Novelli has decided “to retire from the banking industry to pursue new opportunities,” in a refreshing sign that a commitment to exciting digital solutions at UBS does not mean the abandonment of time-honoured euphemisms for management changes.

There is a potentially awkward co-head structure still in place for the wealth management group … at UBS

Novelli actually does have a new opportunity to pursue, and will be the next chairman of exchange group Euronext, subject to regulatory approval.


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