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Richard Briance, Chief executive, West Merchant Bank

A former colleague of Richard Briance, the recently installed chief executive of WestLB's merchant banking arm, says: "West Merchant Bank were unbelievably lucky to get him. If I was him I'd have held out for a bigger job."

For Briance, heading the international investment activities of Germany's third-largest bank is a big job but he is not one to blow his own trumpet - "It's so deeply not my style to put myself forward," he pleads, palpably uncomfortable at the idea - safe perhaps in the knowledge that others will do it for him.

"He has huge energy and a very good overall vision," the former colleague continues. "He's a very good team builder, commands respect from clients, hires well, and is very good at delegating - and lots of people get on with him."

Lots, maybe, but not everyone. Of his departure in February from UBS, where he was global head of fixed income until a well-publicised "lack of fit" with his immediate superior, Hans Peter Bauer, Briance says it was "probably more to do with personality than business philosophy". Bauer's task had been to marry UBS's derivatives and bond businesses, but the two men did not see eye to eye.

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