02.12.2012

HSG C-Speaker Series - Dr. Felix Weber, CEO Nomura Switzerland


The St.Gallen MBA was proud to welcome Dr. Felix Weber this Wednesday to talk to students and alumni on the topic of 'Cultural and Business Transformation in Investment Banking - Personal learnings from the Lehman Brothers / Nomura case' as part of the HSG C-Speaker series.

Dr. Weber himself is a St.Gallen alumnus having graduated from the university in 1978. He then pursued a career which included many years at McKinsey as Partner, CFO at Adecco and a member of the board at both Syngenta and Accenture Switzerland. Most recently, Dr. Weber was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers until the company's collapse in September 2008 and was subsequently retained by after the takeover by Nomura as CEO of Nomura Switzerland.

Dr. Weber's talk at the University of St.Gallen focused on his personal experience of integrating Lehman Brothers' Swiss operations into the corporate culture at Nomura - one of Japan's biggest and most progressive banks. Nomura attained worldwide recognition following its highly publicised takeover of Lehman Brothers' European and Asia operations, however as Dr.Weber explained, the bank itself was highly Japanese with few international senior managers.  The company language was still Japanese and, at the time of the takeover, less than 0.5% of employees were foreign. Language and corporate culture were a big obstacle even for someone like Dr.Weber with several years experience working in Asia. However, Nomura's stance at the time was open and accepting and best summarised by Takumi Shibata, Group COO at Nomura: 'We do not want to welcome you, we want you to welcome us.'

The Nomura case, as presented by Dr. Weber, provided a fascinating recent insight into the nature of business and cultural transformation among some of the world's largest investment banks. A takeover of this scale is full of pitfalls and we are grateful for Dr. Weber taking the time to give such an open and personal insight into this post-financial crisis case.



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