Can Warburg recover Thai eminence?

Sukit Chawalitakul has been recruited to aid the major changes afoot in UBS Warburg''s Thai operations.

After a string of bad news from its Thai office, UBS Warburg has enlisted a new recruit today. Sukit Chawalitakul has been brought in to cover energy, building materials and construction. He arrived for his first day in the Warburg's office today to join the five-person analyst team. He was formerly deputy head of Thai research at CLSA.

His boss will be Shane Gunther, who has assumed the mantle of Thai head of research at the embattled Swiss operation. His task will be to maintain the firm's status as Institutional Investor's top-ranked team.

This may prove tough. Former head of research, Timothy Taylor, moved to Hong Kong this month after seven years in Thailand. His knowledge and relationships were among the firm's greatest assets. Taylor is now deputy head of Warburg's regional research and head of product.

These are not the only changes that have raised questions about the Thai operation. In May, the whole corporate finance team left, with several going to the CP Group. Given Warburg's traditional eminence in the corporate finance arena this left many shocked. The Bangkok office has now closed its corporate finance division - although given the amount of restucturing work to be done, this seems a bizarre move.

Presumably this is a situation that new co-heads of Asian corporate finance, Mark Dowie and Peter Burnett, will quickly rectify. Dowie recently joined from Jardine Fleming where he was head of M&A.

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