UBS to name Weber as new chairman

City A.M. Reporter
Swiss bank UBS said it had nominated former Deutsche Bundesbank President Axel Weber to its board and expected him to succeed Kaspar Villiger as chairman of the board in 2013.

Europe's largest wealth manager in terms of assets said its board of directors would nominate Weber to the board at the annual general meeting in May 2012 and, if elected, it expected him to succeed Villiger after his first year in office.

"I think it's positive that they were able to announce it two years in advance. He's a strong candidate who was also in talks to become chairman of the management board at Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), so it's very good news," said Cheuvreux analyst Christian Stark.

"Villiger was always seen as a temporary solution to help UBS get through the crisis and Axel Weber's clearly got more of a connected network into the international banking industry."

Along with Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel, former Swiss Finance Minister Villiger was coaxed out of retirement to help restore market confidence and turn around UBS after the bank suffered the worst annual loss in Swiss corporate history during the financial crisis.

Weber's nomination scotches speculation he could succeed Deutsche Bank's long-time chairman Josef Akermann whose own tenure expires in 2013.

Weber, aged 54, was president of Germany's Central Bank, the Bundesbank, from April 2004 to April 2011 and was a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank.

He was seen as a likely successor to Jean-Claude Trichet as head of the European Central Bank but ruled himself out of the race in February. He was recently appointed economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Weber taught monetary policy and international economics in Germany before he was chosen for the Bundesbank in 2004.