UBS CEO Gruebel faces board amid huge trading loss

September 23, 2011 - 7:40 AM

SINGAPORE (AP) — UBS Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel, under pressure after a rogue trader lost $2.3 billion of the Swiss banking giant's money, kept silent Friday after facing the institution's board of directors in Singapore.

Gruebel was the first of UBS's top management and board to leave the meeting at the bank's office and refused to answer reporters' questions as he sat alone in the back of a chauffeured Mercedes.

Several UBS board members left about 30 minutes later and also declined to comment.

Some analysts have speculated that Gruebel's job is at stake, though he said last weekend that he will not resign. UBS leadership may also be mulling whether to keep its investment banking arm to go along with its wealth management business.

Earlier this week, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. — the largest UBS shareholder — said in a rare public rebuke that it was concerned about lapses at UBS and called on the bank to restore confidence.

The sovereign wealth fund, which owns about 6.4 percent of UBS, has suffered heavy losses on its investment as the bank's share price has more than halved since GIC became a shareholder.

A UBS spokeswoman said Friday that no further meetings among the board and top management are planned for this weekend.

The bank's board was scheduled to meet in Singapore this week because UBS is a major sponsor of the Formula One race being held on the island Sunday, and it plans to entertain clients at its luxury suite.

London-based UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was arrested last week and charged with fraud and false accounting for the loss. A judge ordered him Thursday to be held in jail until a hearing next month.