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Was That Wrong? Should Carsten Kengeter Not Have Done That?

As you may have heard, the last 6 to 12 to 36 months months have been somewhat trying for UBS investment bank chief Carsten Kengeter. Profits haven’t been exactly what he’d hoped for, the people of Stamford have (more or less) vowed to beat him with a sack of reeds should the Swiss so much as entertain the idea of leaving Connecticut, employees won’t stop jumping down his throat for one second about getting paid, there was the somewhat unfortunate matter of a $2 billion fraud coming to light, no one will give his team credit for their legitimate months and, to top it all off, it looks like he might not get that promotion he’s been gunning for and was hinted he was in the running for in his last annual review. Most recently, he’s been tasked with firing a whole bunch of employees, a sore point for those not thrilled about potentially loosing their jobs or seeing their colleagues let go. And so, despite all the stress he’s been going through, despite the higher-ups in Zurich riding him like Zorro, and despite things really not going his way, Kengeter dug deep and summoned the troops for a morale boosting session, the message of which he thought would’ve been a big hit.

At the dinner with banking heads of several divisions inside the embattled bank, held to discuss strategy and rally the troops, Kengeter, 44, implored the bankers to make a more concerted effort to streamline the firm and likened the strategy to slashing expenses like a “Jewish shopkeeper,” according to one attendee. However, rather than breed enthusiasm, Kengeter’s comments deflated morale and infuriated some bankers. “It didn’t sit well with me,” said a person familiar with Kengeter’s comment. Kengeter only recently offered a personal apology to attendees of the event when he was in New York in the past few weeks, sources say.

In fairness to CK, he would’ve never said those things had he not been momentarily confused as to which event he was working. Tuesdays are UBS dinners, Wednesdays are cross burnings. Honest mistake, won’t happen again.

Some of his best friends are shopkeepers [NYP]

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46 Responses to “Was That Wrong? Should Carsten Kengeter Not Have Done That?”

  1. uɐɟ ssǝq1# says:

    cross burings should have been a tag…

  2. MCM says:

    Hail Kengeter!

    -UBS MD

  3. Texashedge says:

    "That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective after the end of this bonus season. At this moment the UBS Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status."

  4. I went there says:

    Carsten "Silver" Kengeter

    – to clarify things a little.

  5. Financial_Servicer says:

    His apology read "In hindsight I should have used a more appropriate simile – maybe slashing expenses like a Canuck on a seal hunt. Or like a Rwandan mercenary. Or better yet, like an Afghani responding to his daughter's rejection of an arranged marriage."

  6. Carsten says:

    Chew this! People were crying over their lost bonuses, so I said "Chew this! Stop, weepers!"

    Everyone is so freaking sensitive and everyone needs to help out as much as I am here!

  7. demographic says:

    He should have read the room and replaced 'Jewish shopkeeper' with 'Jos. A. Bank'. Might have been more relevant.

  8. HungryIntern says:

    or like his grandfather smashed windows…

  9. Milton Keynes says:

    What is the problem here? Surely Kengeter was saying good things about Jewish shop-keepers; they run their businesses very well. Are investment bankers so preposterous that they consider small business owners to be beneath them? Kengeter has it right.

  10. Guestinho says:

    Paging Nervous Jew?

  11. largent80 says:

    To be fair, how is he supposed to find a legion of brownshirts to back him in a town like Stamford?

  12. merkin_capital says:

    If you think that's bad don't ever discuss baseball with him. I'm pretty sure he's mispronouncing "Nyjer Morgan" on purpose.

  13. Mexi_Cant says:

    I thought slashing Jewish shop keepers to subsidize our expenses was our strategy?

    -Deutsche Bank M.D.

  14. Kelley MBA says:

    Cutting expneses is a difficult but important management decision.

  15. Crazy Eddie says:

    Slash positions like "Crazy Carsten". His layoffs are "INSANE"!

  16. im_new_here says:

    UBS, UBS…why does that sound familiar…oh right, that's the same UBS that hid Nazi gold and refused to release accounts to Jewish heirs because they couldn't produce death certificates for people who died in the camps.

  17. Grammar Chet says:

    Loosing your job a much better option to tightening it

  18. brochacho says:

    Awesome haircut, bro!

  19. guest says:

    God I hope Bess writes a book on the Bank of Suck one day.

  20. dirty_dirty_harry says:

    People continue to crack up but continue to mimick official soundbites. TonyBlair’s sister-in-law converted to Islam and works for PressTV. Not before 2001 but after. And then there’s JoeBiden. In the WH??? I’m so sick of hearing these fucked up stories but it won’t stop unless I move to an emerging market country.

  21. Roger says:

    UBS should give him the axe ASAP. He is an insipid, wooden and uninspiring…also ineffective.

  22. 300WeatherbyMag says:

    I believe the reference is to be "placed in a burlap sack and beaten with reeds". Being beaten with a sack of reeds sounds almost therapeutic.

  23. John Bradley says:

    Bess, this is not the first time for Carsten's racist comment. at the last town hall in stamford, when cost reductions noted that we had "too many chiefs and not enough indians, carsten looked into the audience and called aloud the name of FICC americas who is indian, and asked if we should hire more indians nd if we had enough indians. the room went quiet in shock.

  24. London banker says:

    When they have no rational, substantive comment to contribute to the debate, they typically resort to personal attacks and character assassination. When someone has worked night and day to help save a bank which was £30 billion in the red, all that is quickly forgotten as soon as one thing goes wrong, owing to no fault on your part. We can see that Lloyds Bank is in turmoil after losing their CEO Horta-Osorio to stress related illness. It is not easy for banks such as UBS to replace the likes of Gruebel or Kengeter.

    • Get ReaL says:

      london banker boy, these comments are not character attacks without any reason. personal attack ? you think calling this guy Kengeter is a racist who makes comments that are against the law here in the US. we have rules here and calling people "Jews" in a meeting is not cool

      • buboe says:

        What if they are actually Jews?
        Is saying "OMG it's Yom kippur and all the Jews are on holidays, no wonder there is so much prawn salad in the UBS canteen buffet" against the law?
        Is that "cool"?

  25. Uchen says:

    I don't think he meant any harm from his comments, though they were probably not well thought out. Issues like these seem to be so common, as it appears as though almost everything said and done, offends one group or another in some way.

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