Julius Baer CEO steps down; bank exits private debt business By Reuters

Julius Baer CEO steps down; bank exits private debt business By Reuters

© Reuters. The logo of Swiss private bank Julius Baer is seen at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland February 2, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) -Julius Baer CEO Philipp Rickenbacher will leave the bank, the Swiss wealth manager said on Thursday, as it reported net credit losses of 586 million Swiss francs ($679 million) linked to its exposure to property and retail giant Signa Holding.

The write off was significantly more than the 400 million Swiss franc Signa related loss analysts and a Swiss newspaper had estimated the bank would post from its ties to Rene Benko’s Signa, which recently declared insolvency.

Julius Baer also said it would exit the private debt business and re-focus its lending activities on mortgage and lombard lending.

Rickenbacher, who has led the bank since 2019, steps down in mutual agreement with the Board of Directors, the bank said.

His deputy, Nic Dreckmann, who is also the current chief operations officer, will take over while an external search for a successor is launched.

“I deeply regret that the full loss allowance for the largest exposure in our private debt business has significantly impacted our net profit for 2023,” Chairman Romeo Lacher said in a statement.

“We are refocusing our lending activity on more traditional areas, which are an important part of our wealth management offering.”

On Thursday the bank reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of 454 million francs for the full year, down 52% from 950 million francs in 2022.

($1 = 0.8634 Swiss francs)

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