People Moves

Meet Credit Suisse’s New Wealth Management Boss: Hans-Ulrich Meister

Tara Loader Wilkinson, Asia Editor, 29 July 2011

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Hans-Ulrich Meister, the man at the helm of Credit Suisse's wealth management business

Yesterday, Switzerland’s second largest bank announced drastic cost-cutting measures designed to save SFr1 billion ($1.25 billion) within the next 12 months. How do we know they are serious? With the appointment of a new chief executive of wealth management: former UBS veteran, Hans-Ulrich Meister.

“He has a reputation as a cost-cutter,” said Mediobanca analyst Christopher Wheeler. “He will not pull any punches.”

Fifty-two year old Swiss-born Meister, the former CEO of Credit Suisse Switzerland, takes the reins from Walter Berchtold effective 1 August. Berchtold will become chairman of the wealth management business after three years as CEO. 

What can the Swiss bank's employees expect from their new leader? Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan said on a conference call this morning that Meister would put his stamp on the private bank, but that the overall strategy would remain more or less the same. It is not an easy role to step into, and one of his first assignments will be to trim hundreds of jobs from the pressurised wealth management unit. But the Harvard-educated Swiss comes loaded with plaudits.

Dougan said: "Hans Ulrich was brought in by Walter and I three years ago, and has done an exceptional job as CEO of Switzerland. Walter and I believe this the right time to make this transition and Hans Ulrich is the right person for it. He will have to adapt his strategy for the private bank to his leadership style and vision, but as he has been an integral part of the private bank over the past three years, he will continue to pursue our strategy of discipline and growth."

Here WealthBriefing profiles Meister. 

Meister has worked at the bank since 2008 and was most recently CEO at Credit Suisse Asset Management (Switzerland). He was also head of private and business banking Switzerland.

Before Credit Suisse, he had worked at UBS for almost his entire career, most recently as member of the group managing board. From a graduate trainee starting in 1983 at the Union Bank of Switzerland as it was then known, he progressed rapidly through the ranks.

Four years after joining he was appointed team head of corporate banking and trade finance, Zurich. He became branch manager in Dübendorf four years later and head of corporate banking in Zurich West within a year.

By 1996 he was team head of industrial and public sector entities, Zurich. By 1999 he was head of corporate banking for Zurich. 

From there, he moved to New York where he worked in wealth management, US. In 2003 he was promoted to head of large corporates and multinationals. Between 2005 and 2007 he was head of large corporates and multinationals-wealth management and business banking, and jumped ship to UBS' rival in 2008.

Meister is a member of the executive boards of Credit Suisse Group and Credit Suisse AG. He has been a member of the executive board of Credit Suisse (Australia) since 2008. 

Meister has been a member of the foundation board of the Swiss Finance Institute since 2008. He completed the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 2002 and Advanced Management Program from The Wharton School in 2000.

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