Kafka made a high-profile move to the bank in mid-2010, but PRWeek understands he left last week after his role was put at risk of redundancy.
It is thought that Kafka sent an email to certain UBS staff stating he was leaving to ‘seek new challenges and lead a more balanced lifestyle’.
UBS declined to comment on Kafka’s departure.
Although Kafka’s role spanned elements of both marketing and comms, it is thought he had primarily concentrated on reforming the bank’s marketing operations, while Dominik von Arx, global head of investment bank communications and head of EMEA media relations, has led UBS' comms on investment banking issues.
Kafka was brought in by Carsten Kengeter, former UBS Investment Bank co-CEO, and supported Kengeter’s internal comms.
However, Kengeter has since left the bank’s executive team and is now leading the process of winding down the bank’s non-core fixed-income activities.
As part of the restructure, UBS announced 10,000 staff would depart as it looked to concentrate on wealth management and a more focused range of investment banking activities. It is thought that since his arrival Kafka oversaw the outsourcing of some of the investment bank’s marketing execution to Ogilvy – an arrangement that is no longer in place.
Andrea Orcel, appointed sole investment bank CEO in Nov-ember 2012, is thought to have his own team around him.
Orcel is thought to be close to von Arx, who – according to one insider – ‘further strengthened his reputation’ with his ‘deft’ handling of the UBS ‘rogue trader’ trial last year. Kweku Adoboli was sentenced to seven years in prison last November over fraud charges that cost UBS £1.4bn. Also late last year the bank agreed to pay a fine of US$1.5bn (£940m) for manipulation of the Libor inter-bank lending rate.
Kafka joined UBS after four years at Goldman as European corporate comms director. He has also led corporate affairs at the London Stock Exchange.