UBS economist put on leave after comments on food inflation in China
Paul Donovan made comments on daily podcast
UBS wealth management chief economist Paul Donovan touched off furor after insensitive comments in a daily audio briefing where he touched on the inflationary impacts of swine fever in Asia, saying rising Chinese CPI was due to sick pigs.
"Does this matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China. It does not really matter to the rest of the world," he said.
The bank deleted the podcast and he later apologized.
"I made a mistake and I unwittingly used hugely culturally insensitive language," Donovan said in a Bloomberg TV interview yesterday, reiterating that his remarks were not intended to offend. "I apologize publicly for that."
The Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong wasn't having it and urged UBS to terminate "the employment of the staff involved, and report the result to the Chinese public." It also demanded "the management of UBS make an open and formal apology, and to ensure that such incidents will not occur again."
UBS confirmed today that Donovan was put on leave.