UBS AG plans to appoint Axel Weber as chairman, easing concern over succession at Switzerland's largest bank and ending speculation the former Bundesbank president might take a top post at Deutsche Bank AG.
Weber, 54, will be nominated to the board of directors at the next shareholders meeting on May 3, 2012, the Zurich-based bank said in a statement yesterday. If elected, the board plans to appoint Weber as vice chairman next year, and as chairman, to succeed Kaspar Villiger, in 2013.
"With Axel Weber's nomination, I am pleased that I can present a board member and future chairman who is an internationally renowned personality with an outstanding reputation," Villiger, 70, said in the statement. "He has extremely broad expertise in international finance and banking as well as strong leadership experience."
Weber was a frontrunner to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank until he announced his departure from the Bundesbank in February.
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He was also considered a potential candidate to succeed Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Josef Ackermann, people with knowledge of the matter said in May.
UBS has been looking for successors for its top posts after bringing Villiger, a former Swiss finance minister, and CEO Oswald Gruebel, 67, out of retirement in 2009 to rebuild the bank following the biggest loss in Swiss corporate history.
"From a top-down perspective, it's clearly very positive," said Kian Abouhossein, a London-based analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. "His contacts within Europe and globally will be very useful to UBS. And in a very fast changing regulatory environment he'll be a great asset to have within the firm."
UBS rose 15 centimes, or one per cent, to 15.48 francs (Dh67) by 12.08pm in Swiss trading, leaving the stock up 0.9 per cent this year. That compares with a four per cent decline in the 49- company Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index.