UBS counsel turned chair proposes management shake-up

UBS general counsel turned chairman Peter Kurer is proposing a widespread shake-up of the bank’s corporate governance.

Kurer, who will replace outgoing chairman Marcel Ospel, has announced plans to implement a two-tier board model to replace the current three-tier system, which incorporates a group executive board, chairman’s office and board of directors.

Under Kurer’s proposals the bank will be governed by a board of directors and group executive board only. If the new structure is implemented, Kurer’s board of directors will be made up of bankers with specific experience in banking, finance and risk.

Kurer, who is currently temporary chairman of UBS, will find out later this month if his position is to be made permanent with shareholders due to vote on the matter at the bank’s annual general meeting on 23 April.

Kurer, who has been in senior management at UBS for seven years, has until now led the bank’s global legal and compliance group. The former Baker & McKenzie and Homberger partner’s nomination to the position of chair received widespread criticism from the market, with detractors citing his lack of direct banking experience as general counsel.

UBS has been hit hard by the fallout from the sub-prime market, reporting write downs of SwFr40bn (£20.27bn) due to its exposure to real estate and structured credit.