I was reading the Matthew Goldstein article on UBS in the March 26th issue of BusinessWeek, and I found myself fixated on one small aspect of the story. The story briefly outlines portions of Michael Guttenberg’s work history. I found myself wondering how he went from being a “sales assistant” with Axiom Capital Management to an Executive Director with UBS in four short years. Now, I will be the first to admit that I do not have intimate knowledge of the New York City Financial Services market, but to an outsider that sounds like a fairly incredible jump. I found my mind shifting from did he, and twelve others, do what they are accused of or not, to what did he accomplish during those four years that justified that type of jump?
I found another comment in the article to be very interesting as well. Goldstein, through sources that are “familiar with [Guttenberg’s] duties” labels him as a “glorified marketing executive.” I find this interesting, because one of my pet peeves is that a number of people that I have come into contact with have a low opinion of the marketing profession. So much so that they believe almost anyone can do it. While this article does not provide an exhaustive look at Guttenberg’s resume, it struck me as an example of this type of thinking. It appears that Guttenberg spent a fair amount of his time in the sales profession, but yet UBS promoted him to a marketing executive position, and on top of that placed him on “an elite committee” within the company.
Time and the courts will tell if Mr. Guttenberg and his colleagues are guilty, in the meantime I am fascinated by the progression of his career prior to this incident.