UBS investment bank co-chief Novelli to join Euronext as chairman

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland, January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

February 15, 2021

ZURICH/PARIS (Reuters) – Piero Novelli is to leave his job as co-chief of UBS Group’s investment bank to become chairman of stock exchange operator Euronext, leaving his colleague Robert Karofsky in sole charge of the division at the Swiss bank.

Novelli, an Italian, is a high-profile dealmaker who advised on many big cross-border corporate mergers, including Whirlpool’s purchase of Indesit, completed in 2014.

Novelli’s appointment was triggered by Euronext’s acquisition of Borsa Italiana in October.

As part of the deal, Euronext agreed to have an Italian representative sitting at its supervisory board while a second Italian candidate was meant to be proposed as an independent member of the supervisory board and become the chairman of the combined group.

Karofsky, an American, joined UBS in 2014 after stints at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and AllianceBernstein. He led the global equities business before joining Novelli to run the investment bank.

The pair became co-leaders of the UBS business in September 2018, when Andrea Orcel left UBS.

“Under their leadership, the investment bank achieved its best fourth-quarter and full-year results since 2012, finishing 2020 with an exceptional return on attributed equity of nearly

20%,” UBS said in a statement.

“I want to personally thank Piero for his contributions to reshaping our investment bank and successfully co-leading the business, employees and our clients through the pandemic,” CEO Ralph Hamers said.

“Our world-class investment bank is critical to the success of our group strategy and I am confident Rob is the right leader to help us achieve our strategic ambitions.”

In a memo to staff seen by Reuters, Karofksy hailed the duo’s partnership and friendship.

“Our strategic ambitions remain clear, and we should all stay focused on providing a seamless service to our clients … to maximize growth opportunities and deliver the full capabilities of UBS,” he wrote.

Euronext said that Novelli is also a lecturer at a number of top universities and supported the Italian healthcare system during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

Euronext, which aims to close its 4.3 billion euro ($5.22 billion) acquisition of Borsa Italiana from the London Stock Exchange in the first half of 2021, reported higher-than-expected annual revenue this month.

Data published this month showed that Euronext’s Amsterdam hub had displaced London as Europe’s biggest share trading centre after Britain left the EU’s single market following the Brexit deal.

(Reporting by Michael Shields and Oliver Hirt in Zurich, Sarah White in Paris, and Pamela Barbaglia in London; editing by Riham Alkousaa, Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)