UBS finally fills general counsel role with hire from Homburger

Swiss investment bank UBS has recruited a new group general counsel to be based in Zurich.

Leading Swiss corporate lawyer Peter Kurer will join UBS from Zurich-based firm Homburger on 1 July.

Kurer, who is currently head of the corporate practice in the leading Swiss M&A and securities firm, will oversee the heads of legal throughout all of the group’s businesses.

He will work closely with the group executive board and will provide support to Marcel Ospel, the chairman of the board of directors. He will report to the president of the group executive board Luqman Arnold.

Kurer will also become a member of the group managing board and the group executive board, and Arnold says that Kurer is taking on a more senior role than his predecessors.

“Now that we’re operating in a number of jurisdictions, the legal function is becoming more and more important,” says Arnold. “The new role is modelled on a US style, and it reflects the influence of legal aspects in the US that are penetrating our business.”

UBS has been without a permanent group general counsel since Urs Roth left the post at the end of last year to become chief executive of the Swiss Bankers Association. Since his departure, Hans Dietzi has been acting group general counsel of the bank.

Kurer says he is moving in-house because he wants to try something new. “I’m 52 and I’ve done everything in the M&A arena. Now I’d like a new challenge,” he says. “In my new job, I’ll have an operational and a management role and the work will be much broader than the work we do in private practice.”

He says his departure is also a good move for Homburger, because it will give the rest of his team the opportunity to take on more responsibility.

After Kurer’s departure, Heinz Scharer will head Homburger’s corporate group, with Daniel Daeniker as his deputy.

UBS does not have a formal panel of preferred law firms, although it frequently uses Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy. Kurer refuses to say whether he will review the bank’s external legal services.

UBS operates out of Zurich, London, New York, Chicago, Singapore and Tokyo, and following its merger with PaineWebber (now UBS PaineWebber) it now employs 70,000 people worldwide.