Julius Baer CEO Resigns Amid Exit from Private Debt Business

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Julius Baer announces the resignation of its CEO, Philipp Rickenbacher, and the bank’s decision to exit the private debt sector, earmarking over half a billion Swiss francs due to reported exposure to bankrupt Austrian asset manager Signa.

During a presentation on the 2023 results, Chairman Romeo Lacher expressed regret, attributing the challenges to a singular credit event. The annual results reveal net credit losses of 606 million Swiss francs, with 586 million francs allocated as a loan-loss allowance for unspecified private debt exposure.

CEO Rickenbacher, acknowledging the best interests of the company, steps down, emphasising that actions taken in the private debt business aim to rebuild stakeholder confidence. Deputy CEO and COO Nic Dreckmann will serve as interim CEO until a permanent successor is appointed.

Julius Baer’s shares rose nearly 6% to 50.02 Swiss francs on the SIX Swiss Exchange following the announcement. The bank’s challenges, reportedly linked to Signa, remain under scrutiny, with November’s disclosure highlighting exposure to private debt issues.

As Julius Baer navigates these challenges, it contrasts with the backdrop of its recent gains, benefiting from the exodus of former customers from Credit Suisse, which faced upheaval leading to a government-backed takeover by UBS last year.