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At UBS's annual general assembly on Wednesday, shareholders voted against forgiving the bank’s 2007 management. The shareholder decision opens the door to possible civil or even criminal law suits.
It is unique for Switzerland that shareholders of a large public corporation vote against forgiving former management. Some see this as a victory of shareholder capitalism.
UBS today is lead by Oswald Grübel (CEO; ex Credit Suisse CEO) and former Swiss finance minister Kaspar Villiger (President). The new management is just on the way to achieve an impressive turnaround. UBS reported a Q1 2010 profit of approximately Swiss francs 2.5 billion. People close to the company tell that the new management succeeded in implementing a new culture which is dedicated to ethical behavior and strong customer orientation.
Grübel is completely aware that the shareholder decision of not forgiving the management acting prior to his period is a demonstration of shareholder power:
"The fact that we will continually be confronted with mistakes from the past is a reality we have to live with," Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel said.
But, he insisted: "We are a different bank from a year ago."
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