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20 Things You Didn't Know About Sergio Ermotti

Sergio Ermotti

Sergio Ermotti is a Swiss businessman who gained his reputation investment banking as well as in other sectors of finance. He started his career early in life and has built a fortune through hard work and making wise decisions. We were interested in knowing more about Mr. Ermotti and how he came to be so successful in the business world. What are the secrets of his success, what is his background and what are his philosophies? After checking into his early life and career history, we learned some fascinating facts about him that are well-worth sharing. He's an inspiration to upcoming businessmen and women and here are 20 things about Sergio Ermotti that you probably didn't know.

1. Ermotti was born in an Italian-speaking Swiss city

Sergio was born in a city called Lugano, in Switzerland. The people in this city are Italian-speaking. It's an interesting country to live in because there is so much diversity and there are many different languages spoken by the citizens of Switzerland. Sergio himself is fluent in four languages which include his native Swiss Italian, Swiss-French, Swiss German and English.

2. He wanted to become an athlete

Sergio was just fifteen years old when he left school to pursue his passions at the time. He had dreams of being a skier as well as a footballer, so he set out on these missions. At the age of 18, he enrolled in college because this would help him to gain access to skiing and football teams. Although he turned a corner on his life path while in college, one of his dreams as a young man was to actively participate in these sports.

3. Ermotti started out as an apprentice

While Sergio was still in college, he was accepted for an apprenticeship. He did this because he wanted to get a jump on his career in finance and accounting. These were the programs of study that he enrolled in at college and he figured that the hands-on experience at the Corner Bank in his hometown of Lugano would help to give him an edge on his studies. While at the bank he learned about trading and selling stocks and this would make a big difference in the trajectory of his professional life as well as for his education.

4. He went for a different kind of education

Instead of attending university and getting his degree in accounting and finance, Ermotti made the decision to take courses that would help him to earn a Swiss federal banking expert diploma. Afterward, he attended the Oxford University Advanced Management Program. Although he took a little different approach, he has a bonafide education and is well-credentialed as a Swiss federal banking expert.

5. Ermotti began investing as a teen

Sergio shared that his first investment was made when he was somewhere between the ages of 17 and 18. It was during the time that he was serving as an apprentice at the local banks. He bought a bond for its yield. He had learned how to buy sell and trade bonds during his tenure as an apprentice at the bank and he put his knowledge to work while he was still a teenager.

6. He had a long career at Merrill Lynch

Sergio Ermotti spent almost eighteen years of his life working at Merrill Lynch. He headed the equity markets for the firm on a global level. Merrill Lynch is a US-based investment firm, but she worked for their Zurich, Switzerland branch. They have offices all over the globe.

7. Ermotti was an executive for UniCredit

Sergio joined the biggest bank in Italy, calculated by market value, in 2005. While there he headed the investment banking and markets division, becoming deputy CEO in 2007. He rose to teh position of their top investment banker with international affiliations that exceeded those of his peers in terms of visibility. He was the most well-known and had achieved a high level of success. He made the decision to leave the bank in 2010 but stayed with them until a suitable replacement was found, showing his professionalism and courtesy for his employer.

8. He worked for Citibank

Ermotti joined Citibank in 1985. When he first joined, he serves as the company's Resident Vice President where he traded products which were equity-linked. This was prior to his employment with Merrill Lynch. He just stayed with Citibank for two years before moving on to a position with the Merrill Lynch investment firs, but it was a stepping stone in his career.

9. Sergio Ermotti was a member of the LSE

Ermotti had developed an impressive curriculum vitae from his many employment experiences in the financial industry. He also served as a board member for the London Stock Exchange. He first assumed the membership in September of 2008, and he served in this capacity until July of 2013.

10. He's received his share of accolades

The high-quality work and professionalism that Ermotti has show throughout his career have not gone unrecognized. He was elected by Schweiz am Sonntag, a Swiss newspaper, as "the most successful manager of a company listed on the Swiss Market Index of the year 2015." This was quite a distinction and honor, but Mr. Ermotti was quite deserving of the recognition.

11. He's served as CEO for five branches of UBS AG

Mr. Ermotti has a long list of significant achievements in his work history. He served as the Group Chief Executive Officer for UBS Switzerland AG as well as at the company's Stamford Branch, at their New York branch and he became the USB Group AG Group CEO in 2014 over investment management and fund operators. He was also made Chairman of the Management Board in 2011.

12. Ermotti is chairman of several organizations

We were also impressed with the fact that Sergio Ermotti serves in the position of chairman on several different boards. he is Chairman and President of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, he is chairman of the UBS Optimus Foundation, Fondazione Ermotti, and of USB Business Solutions AG. This is an important advisory position and he's in such high demand because of his vast knowledge base and intuitiveness when it comes to the management of finances.

13. He's also a director and member of other organizations

We also learned that Mr. Ermotti serves as director of multiple communities and business-related organizations, offering his advisement and assistance. These include The Financial Services Forum, the Global Apprenticeships Network, Fondazione Lugano Per II Polo Culturale, and is a member of Forum Mondial de L'Economie, Institut International d'Etudes Bancaires, and Said Business School.

14. Ermotti took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge

Most of us remember when the Ice Bucket Challenge became popular. This was a challenge that celebrities, executives and others would issue to one another to raise money for worthy causes and charities for ALS. Mr. Ermotti received his challenge from the Ringier and Gianluigi Bianchi Swiss media company's CEO Marc Walder. He challenged Ermotti to take part in the event and Ermotti obliged. Participants immersed themselves in a bucket of ice water. He showed his spirit by responding to the challenge.

15. Sergio Ermotti has a position on cryptocurrency

One of the latest trends in financial trading has been in the fairly recent cryptocurrency market. While some claim that there is a tremendous potential to become incredibly rich through trading in cryptocurrency, Ermotti has his reservations. While he hasn't specifically denounced the monetary system, he did say that he's "not necessarily a believer" in cryptocurrencies. He did, however, follow up with the caveat that he does like blockchain. In fact, UBS was involved in a project that was called Batavia, which was a blockchain project that emerged between UBS, IBM and several other financial institutions. He's a fan of ledger technology and he sees the possibilities for greater efficiency and less expense in the operations of financial institutions.

16. He was made CEO of UBS 5 months after joining

Sergio Ermotti joined USB at the right time. He had an impressive track record in the investment banking and trading industries, and he was on his way with regard to positioning to work his way up to the top executive in the company. It's unusual, however, to be promoted in less than a half year of joining the team. There were unusual circumstances afoot, and the CEO who was in charge at the time made an investment that caused the bank to lose $2.3 billion through dealings with a rogue trader out of London. Ermotti was flown in to help manage the crisis as Oswald Grubel, former CEO involved in the controversy submitted his resignation when he and the board disagreed over the best strategic responses. The position was open and they considered Ermotti to be the best person for the job. He inherited a plethora of headaches from day one, but he was well able to reconcile the situation and set the bank on a more positive trajectory. Still, his rapid ascent into the top leadership position was quite remarkable by anyone's standards. They took a bit of an educated guess and gamble, but their instincts were right and it paid off as Ermotti showed his true colors and did an amazing job.

17. Ermotti is well-connected with major corporations

When we looked into Mr. Ermotti's vast network of important connections, we were truly amazed. Through his long and successful career, he's been significantly associated with a variety of different companies, all of which have had the need for top-notch financial advisement and assistance in some manner. He's got connections with the Dow Chemical Corporation, DuPont de Nemours Inc, International Business Machines Corporation, Roche Holding Ltd, ABB Ltd, Unilever Kenya Ltd, of course, USB Group AG and even Bombardier Inc, the manufacturer of the aircraft. He's also associated with the New York Bar Association, the ETH Zurich Foundation, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Markus U. Diethelm, the European Commission, the Leverhulme Trust, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, Cro Forum, Zurich Financial Services Ltd, the Institut Fur Verischerungswirtschaft, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

18. He considered being a teacher

Earlier we learned that Sergio Ermotti left school at the young age of 15 to pursue interests in skiing and football. He had another passion that could have taken him on a much different life path, had he pursued it. He also wanted to become a sports teacher. Had it not been for the apprenticeship he fulfilled at a local corner bank in town, his life might have turned out much differently.

19. Ermotti made a controversial decision

Ermotti is a businessman who must make hard decisions about those who work under his influence. In 2012, he was charged with making some cost-cutting adjustments, and the decision ended up being delivered in what was reputed to be one of the toughest possible ways. The bank planned to cut members of its staff to save on expenses. What capped the situation was the fact that UBS compensated Ermotti with nearly $9 million that year while others lost their jobs.  Still though, less people lost their jobs than expected and it wound up being around 2,000 employees instead potentially a lot more.

20. He's the highest-paid executive at UBS

We also learned that Sergio Ermotti is the highest-paid executive at the bank. There are no other workers there that make more than he. He is handsomely compensated for his services as the Group Executive Officer as well as a member of the executive board. He brings in $14,124,000.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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