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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]