- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2009

GENEVA | Troubled Swiss banking giant UBS AG said Wednesday that it will slash its global work force of 76,200 people by more than 10 percent as part of across-the-board cost cutting to return to profit after racking up billion-dollar losses for yet another quarter.

The 8,700 job cuts will hit the United States and Switzerland particularly hard because that is where the bank has its largest payrolls, a bank spokesman said.

“Our results remain very unsatisfactory,” new Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel said at the annual shareholders meeting, adding that the bank will report a first-quarter loss attributable to shareholders of nearly $1.75 billion when it releases results next month.

But the bank knows where it has to get to work, Mr. Gruebel said.

Clients have continued to withdraw their money from the bank since its decision to cooperate more closely with foreign authorities over tax evasion, the bank said.

The company, which has been hard hit by losses on so-called subprime securities that are backed by home loans to people with shaky credit, said it will “adapt its size to the changed market conditions and lower levels of business.”

“It will be a long road back to success without any quick fixes,” said Mr. Gruebel. “Rather, we will move forward step by step in a rigorous and disciplined manner.”

Mr. Gruebel said the bank plans to cut 2,500 jobs in Switzerland, where more than one-third of the global staff is based.

Spokesman Serge Steiner gave no breakdown by country but said the impact on the U.S. employees would also be heavy because that is another major center of UBS operations. The bank says 38 percent of its employees are in the Western Hemisphere.

The areas to feel the most cuts will be the so-called mid- and back offices - mostly support jobs without direct customer contact, said Mr. Steiner.

The job cuts come on top of a reduction of 1,600 since the end of last year.

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