Colm Kelleher: the Corkman leading €3bn takeover of Credit Suisse

UBS chairman has master’s in modern history from Oxford and spent 30 years at Morgan Stanley

The man leading the €3 billion rescue of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is 65-year-old banker Colm Kelleher from Co Cork.

Mr Kelleher, chairman of Credit Suisse rival UBS, has made no bones about the fact this is an “emergency rescue” of the 167-year-old beleaguered bank, which is the second-largest lender in Switzerland.

“This acquisition is attractive for UBS shareholders but, let us be clear, as far as Credit Suisse is concerned, this is an emergency rescue,” he said as the move to prevent contagion to the markets gathered apace on Sunday night.

“We have structured a transaction which will preserve the value left in the business while limiting our downside exposure.


“Acquiring Credit Suisse’s capabilities in wealth, asset management and Swiss universal banking will augment UBS’s strategy of growing its capital-light businesses. The transaction will bring benefits to clients and create long-term sustainable value for our investors.”

Mr Kelleher was elected chairman of UBS – the world’s largest wealth manager, with co-headquarters in the cities of Zürich and Basle – in April last year.

He previously spent most of his career at Morgan Stanley, which he joined in 1989 at the company’s London office before soon moving on to New York. He was elected managing director of the group in 1996, just seven years after joining.

He served as president of Morgan Stanley until retiring from the firm in 2019. As president, he oversaw both the institutional securities business and wealth management arms.

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Before that he served as president of Morgan Stanley Institutional Securities and chief executive of Morgan Stanley International where he was responsible for all of the firm’s businesses outside of the US and its institutional securities business globally.

During the global financial crisis, he held the position of chief financial officer and co-head of corporate strategy from 2007 to 2009, helping to steer the firm through the financial crisis and managing its capital and liquidity during a period of great market dislocation.

Mr Kelleher was also head of global capital markets from February 2006 to October 2007.

UBS describes Mr Kelleher as “a well-respected leader” in the financial services sector. His 30-year career with Morgan Stanley “attests to his solid leadership experience” in banking and “excellent relationships” around the world, the group says.

He has a “deep understanding” of the global banking landscape and broad banking experience across all the geographic regions and major business areas in which UBS operates.

Mr Kelleher has a master’s degree in modern history from Oxford University and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He qualified as a chartered accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co.

He is a member of a number of boards including the Bretton Woods Committee; the Swiss Finance Council; Americans for Oxford; the Oxford Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors; the Advisory Council of the British Museum; and the International Advisory Council of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

He is also a member of the European Financial Services Round Table; the European Banking Group; the International Monetary Conference; and the Chief Executive’s Advisory Council (Hong Kong).

He is an honorary fellow of Oriel College, Oxford; a freeman of the City of London; and has received the keys to the city of Florence.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter