Joe Grano, the former president of Paine Webber and, after UBS bought it, the CEO of UBS Global Wealth Management, told Bloomberg that he wrote a letter to UBS executives last year telling them they should spin of UBS' retail financial advisory unit or sell it. Bloomber reports: "It wasn’t a definitive offer, it was something for them to consider, but the message was clear that if you would entertain something like that, let’s talk,” Grano, 61, said in an interview. “And they didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to the letter.”
More particularly, Grano says: “I wrote a letter to [former CEO Marcel] Rohner basically suggesting to them that they should consider spinning out the old Paine Webber, separately branding it and perhaps selling a portion of it which I would put a group together,” Grano said. Part of the sale could be used for an employee stock-ownership plan, Grano said.
It's not clear to my why Bloomberg interviewed Grano and ran the story today---other than, I suppose---UBS' ongoing problems with the U.S. government. Of course, talking to former CEOs of anything is usually interesting, particularly if they are willing to dish on their old companies. Grano, who served in Vietnam as a Green Beret, says UBS would be wise to hire Merrill veteran Bob McCann. Grano is presently running Centurian Holdings, a venure capital-like advisor to high-growth companies.