Rosemary Berkery, instrumental in UBS' banking push, to retire

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Rosemary Berkery, vice chairman of UBS Wealth Management Americas and chairman of UBS Bank USA, is retiring effective April 30.

Berkery, who has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years, is perhaps most widely known for her role as general counsel at Merrill Lynch during the throes of the financial crisis.

Since joining UBS’ wealth management unit in March 2010, she has been charged with growing its bank, and to that end, has added mortgages and credit cards to its offerings. Its lending book is now about $42 billion, up from $17 billion when she arrived.

In a memo announcing her retirement to the staff on Wednesday, Tom Naratil, co-president of global wealth management for UBS, credited Berkery with turning the banking operation into “a key driver of profitability for our business.”

Michael Blum will succeed Berkery in her role as chairman of UBS Bank USA, according to the memo.

Blum also will retain his current responsibilities as group managing director and head of the Wealth Management USA Banking Group.

Berkery is a recruit of Bob McCann, a Merrill veteran who at the time had just taken over UBS Wealth Management Americas and now serves as its chairman. She was one of a handful of former colleagues McCann brought in that insiders reportedly referred to as the “Merrill mafia.”

Naratil said in the memo that Berkery’s departure would be “bittersweet” for him.

“On one hand, I'll miss Rosemary's counsel and advice, all of which were indispensable as Bob McCann and our leadership team transformed Wealth Management Americas and returned it to strength and profitability,” he wrote.

“On the other hand, I'm very happy that Rosemary will now be able to take some well-deserved time to focus on her passions outside of work, including her nonprofit and corporate board service, as well as her philanthropic activities supporting organ donation and youth education.”

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Wealth management Succession planning Rosemary Berkery UBS Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Women in Banking