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David Solo, Chief operating officer, SBC Warburg

How important to SBC Warburg is the bank's chief operating officer, the young and mysterious David Solo? Some insiders at the bank say it is the shy Solo who, at 32, is masterminding SBC Warburg's strategy to become the world's best investment bank.

"David Solo is the chief strategist behind SBC Warburg. [Marcel] Ospel [group CEO] wouldn't be in his position if it weren't for Solo. Separately they were no good, but together they complement one another," says a former SBC Warburg executive. He goes on to say that "it isn't just because Solo is brilliant that Ospel needs him but that Solo thinks and plans far into the future. He has plans for the bank in 10 years' time".

Whether Solo is calling the shots is a matter of debate, but no one disputes that his rise has been meteoric and that his role in the bank is crucial. Ospel has said on several occasions that Solo is a key member of the team but that his age and his background - more technology-oriented than client-based - have attracted unusual attention.

Solo's appointment at his age is not so surprising remembering Ospel's tendency to promote bright young things: Andy Siciliano, 36 years old, in New York and Marcus Granziol, just over 40, running global equities are two examples.

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