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Impact Story:
Julius Baer
Impact Story:

Julius Baer

Winning the future: Building Julius Baer’s leadership capabilities


In 2018, Julius Baer was confronted with reputational legacy issues and leadership challenges in a rapidly evolving external environment, increased regulatory scrutiny and significant technological developments. To ensure future success, the bank pushed forward with its vision of leadership at all levels and engaged IMD to help it co-create a new team leader program – TLP 2.0 – a seven-module journey, based on an adaptive leadership framework, to help team leaders.


After nearly a decade of growth, fueled by both mergers and the longest bull run in history, Julius Baer faced multiple challenges, including turmoil caused by the unexpected defection of several key managers, starting with the bank’s long-term CEO to a rival bank; the continued fallout from money laundering and tax evasion scandals; increased regulatory requirements and scrutiny from around the globe; a drop in financial performance; and changing client needs driven by technological advances. Julius Baer urgently needed to improve its overall client experience, work more efficiently and generate new business. Also, more than half of its employees were new to the bank, and its informal governance structure was no longer sufficient.

Custom approach

IMD and Julius Baer co-created an innovative solution to develop the leadership capabilities of the bank’s team leaders – its middle managers – who were either new to the bank or responsible for integrating new employees. Team leaders were the focus because, as the bank’s first line of defense for monitoring and ensuring regulatory compliance, it was key for them to become true leaders – leaders who empowered, delegated and enhanced the capabilities of their teams.


As the IMD–Julius Baer co-creation journey unfolded, a trusting relationship developed and strengthened and the bank’s strategy and external trends were linked to the context of individual leaders. As a result, the partnership evolved from updating a single program that targeted team leaders to becoming a key pillar of the bank’s leadership curriculum (see Fig. 14). In addition to a common language taking hold across the bank, the main impact of this engagement has been developing agile leaders at three key levels of the bank who are empowered to act in a fast-changing industry. They are more innovative and aware of the external environment and better able to monitor and enforce regulatory boundaries. And the partnership is expanding again: Julius Baer recently asked IMD to co-create another program for leaders reporting to the executive committee, which should be rolled out in autumn 2021.