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WEALTH

Zeltner leaves UBS Wealth as the clear global leader

Jürg Zeltner inspired UBS to regain its position as the world’s best private bank, and his departure has shocked many in the industry – what will he do next?

Jurg-Zeltner-hands-R-600
Jürg Zeltner, chief executive of UBS Wealth Management

UBS on Thursday announced that Jürg Zeltner, chief executive of its wealth management business, will step down at the end of the year, in the second recent unexpected senior departure at a top Swiss private bank.

At the end of November, Julius Baer announced that Boris Collardi, its chief executive, would be leaving to join Pictet.

No reason was given for Zeltner’s departure or what his next move would be. Sergio Ermotti, chief executive of UBS, said in a statement that Zeltner had made “outstanding contributions” to the bank and that he wished him all the best.

UBS said his replacement would be Martin Blessing, the one-time chief executive of Commerzbank, who had been running UBS’s Swiss banking business since September 2016. Axel Lehmann, group COO, will be stepping into Blessing’s role.

It’s a loss to UBS, and indeed the wealth management industry, if Zeltner, aged just 50, chooses to pursue a different career path. Well-liked and respected by both clients and colleagues, Zeltner has often been described as injecting a much-needed level of care back into banking.