Johansson and Rohner both stressed that their focus in 2008 to 2009 was on the survival of the bank, which amassed more than $57 billion in writedowns and losses from the subprime crisis and had to be bailed out by the Swiss government. Rohner, the CEO between July 2007 and February 2009, said he accepts “accountability” for what happened under his watch and that he “did the best I could.”
“The level of ignorance of this board seems to be staggering to the point of incredulity,” Tyrie said during the hearing. He also said UBS’s rigging of interest rates and reaping profit from that was “stealing,” a description to which Johansson agreed.
Wilmot-Sitwell, who became president of Europe at Bank of America Corp. after he left UBS last year, said hearings such as this help reinforce the importance of managing a firm’s reputation in the financial industry as a whole.
“We’re only as good as the reputation of our firm,” he said. “We’re only as good as the professionalism and integrity with which we carry out our business. And there is a recognition that there is a massive hill to climb in terms of recovering that reputation, rebuilding the integrity.