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Awards for Excellence 2002: Lifetime achievement award – John Costas, CEO, UBS Warburg

Awards for Excellence 2002

John Costas, CEO, UBS Warburg

John Costas is the winner of this year's PricewaterhouseCoopers' lifetime achievement award. It reflects his leading role in driving UBS Warburg, where he is now CEO, from being a second-tier global player in investment banking to this year's best investment bank. His early career in the bond division at CSFB in New York progressed incredibly smoothly. He rose from trainee to co-head of global fixed income. Starting in sales, he progressed to running global distribution and then took a big step up to also running risk management and capital markets at the start of the 1990s. It had all gone without a hitch. Maybe it was too smooth.

Then, at the age of 39, he took a big risk, quitting an established franchise to see if he could build a business at UBS. "I take great personal satisfaction from taking what was a niche player in certain markets to a fixed-income platform that can be mentioned in the same breath as the businesses of other leading bulge bracket houses," he says. Not that it was easy. In the first 18 months pure fear of failure drove him on.