Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Swiss Bank Julius Baer picks Philipp Rickenbacher as CEO

Mr Rickenbacher, currently head of intermediaries and global custody at lender, will replace Bernard Hodler starting September 1

Zurich-based Julius Baer Group has appointed Philipp Rickenbacher as chief executive effective Sept 1. Bloomberg.
Zurich-based Julius Baer Group has appointed Philipp Rickenbacher as chief executive effective Sept 1. Bloomberg.

Julius Baer appointed Philipp Rickenbacher as its chief executive, picking an internal candidate to drive growth for Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank.

Mr Rickenbacher, 48, currently head of intermediaries and global custody at Julius Baer, will take over from Bernard Hodler who will retire from his role and the board on August 31, Julius Baer said on Monday. Mr Rickenbacher will begin his new role on September 1.

"We are delighted that ... we have been able to appoint an internal candidate with a compelling leadership and industry track record, deeply familiar with Julius Baer’s culture and business, but prepared to actively address the challenges of the future," said Romeo Lacher, chairman of Julius Baer.

The bank, which uses Dubai International Financial Centre as its regional hub, has rapidly grown its business in the Middle East, increasing staff in Dubai to about 160 currently from 120 last year and hiring 14 relationship managers to serve its high-net-worth client base this year alone.

The bank is eyeing mergers and acquisition opportunities in Asian growth markets such as the Middle East India and China, Mr Hodler told The National in May.

The wealth manager intends to keep growing its business in the Middle East, which has yielded “significant growth”, with the bank hitting its targets of 4 to 6 per cent in terms of on-boarding new money. It is bullish on the economic growth prospects of broader region.

The bank opted for an internal candidate to drive the wealth manager's future growth after Mr Hodler served in the role for less than two years. Mr Rickenbacher has been with Julius Baer for 15 years since joining from McKinsey & Company.

Mr Hodler will assist the new CEO and the board to ensure a smooth transition into 2020, before Mr Holder pursues other projects, the bank said, without revealing his plans.

"“Bernhard Hodler was exactly the right man at the right time. I would like to thank him for initiating this transformation, driving the bank’s strategic agenda with a sharper focus on efficiency and risk management, while stabilising its franchise across a challenging period," Mr Lacher said.

Mr Hodler, the former risk chief at Zurich-based Julius Baer, which manages assets of 427 billion Swiss francs (Dh1.57 trillion), took over at the group when predecessor Boris Collardi left in 2017 to run unlisted rival Pictet.

Mr Hodler said his successor is an "experienced and energetic" manager who "has all it takes to continue Julius Baer’s success story well into the future”.

The bank is due to report its half-year results on July 22.

"With our unique pure wealth management focus, our entrepreneurial spirit and values, we are perfectly equipped to continue to lead the industry in the years to come," Mr Rickenbacher said.

Updated: July 8, 2019 06:23 PM