Andreas Orcel's Russia Specialist and Dylan Fan

Bob Foresman, UBS, Russia, Andrea Orcel

Bob Foresman, designation vice chairman UBS investment bank

Bob Foresman has vast experience as an investment banker in Russia. He has just been appointed to a key position at UBS’ investment bank. Andrea Orcel’s expectations are clear.

Bob Foresman has spent more than 18 of his 23 professional years in Russia and the Ukraine. UBS has just hired him as a vice chairman of its investment bank, reporting to Andrea Orcel, according to a memorandum seen by finews.asia.

Strategic Role

UBS’ recruiting and appointment of Foresman is noteworthy in several ways. As a vice chairman, he will be a key lieutenant to Orcel in the investment bank.

This doesn’t mean that the 48-year-old American will take over operative responsibilities from Orcel, who he will report to.

The role is a more strategic one, Orcel said in a memo to staff. Foresman is to maintain and build relationships in the U.S. for all the bank’s businesses. In other words: Foresman’s value is his experience and his network.

Power Player

Orcel rhapsodized over Foresman’s qualities such as his extensive relationships, political and geopolitical understanding and strategic weight.

Foresman is someone with a mastery of the «power play»: he maintains connections to the inner circle surrounding Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as to previous Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A Banker in Russia

He sees improving Russian-U.S. relations as a personal goal, and is a board member of the non-profit East West Institute. Foresman’s engagement is also noteworthy in that his whole career as a banker was spent in Russia: until January, he was country head for British investment bank Barclays.

Foresman’s departure was linked to Barclays’ leaving the market. Previously, he had been the vice chairman of Moscow-based Renaissance Capital, an investment bank specialized in emerging markets.

Opening Doors

His earlier postings were with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and ING Barings, in senior positions for Russia and the post-Soviet states.

Orcel made it clear: UBS wants to benefit from Foresman’s knowledge in the Russian market, and will work with the local management. In other words, Foresman can open doors in Russia, a person of influence for UBS’ bankers to call in.

Expectations of Foresman don’t stop there: Orcel’s goal is to break up UBS’ silo thinking in its investment bank.

Orcel's Mission

To do so, he has made several management changes recently, as previously reported by finews.ch.

The changes are rooted in Orcel’s his conviction that an investment bank with a homogenous structure can deliver better results than one in which every investment banker is fixated on his bonus.

These are high expectations of a banker who has spent practically his entire career in the relative remoteness of the Russian market.

Bob Dylan Songs

The father of five grew up during the Cold War. When he saw the nuclear drama «The Day After», he decided that he wanted to «deal with that issue», Foresman told students last year.

He studied international relations and Russian, and graduated from the Moscow Energy Institute in 1989. His ties have lasted until today, and Foresman has made done more than make a name for himself as a banker with high-level relationships.

Foresman was an avid cultural ambassador too: he occasionally played Bob Dylan songs for his Russian friends, on guitar and harmonica – just like the U.S. folk singer and civil activist.

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