August 14, 2022

DealBook: Ex-Bundesbank Chief to Become UBS Chairman

Axel A. WeberKai Pfaffenbach/ReutersAxel A. Weber, the former German central bank president, was selected to join UBS’s board as vice chairman in 2012, then chairman a year later.

8:16 p.m. | Updated

UBS, the Swiss bank, said Friday that it had asked Axel A. Weber, the former German central bank president, to join its board next year, and that it planned to appoint him chairman in 2013.

Mr. Weber will join UBS’s board as nonindependent vice chairman, subject to approval by the bank’s shareholders in 2012. If elected, he would then be nominated to succeed Kaspar Villiger as chairman of the board the following year.

“I am pleased that I can present a board member and future chairman who is an internationally renowned personality with an outstanding reputation,” Mr. Villiger said in a statement. “His appointment will guarantee a smooth leadership transition and stability.”

Mr. Weber was a candidate to replace Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank before he withdrew from consideration in February after making some controversial comments about monetary policy. He also resigned from the Bundesbank, the German central bank, saying he would return to academia. Before becoming a central banker, Mr. Weber was an economics professor at universities in Germany.

“Being able to help shape the bank’s future is an attractive prospect,” he said in the statement.

Mr. Weber, 54, was also seen as a potential candidate to take the top job at Deutsche Bank, once the contract of the current chief executive, Josef Ackermann, ran out in 2013.

UBS’s chief executive, Oswald J. Grübel, is still trying to repair a bank that was one of the hardest hit in Europe during the financial crisis. Its role in a recent legal case over tax evasion by some of its American clients had also hurt the reputation of its wealth management operation.

Some analysts have said it is unclear how long Mr. Grübel will stay at UBS. Mr. Grübel, a 67-year old former chief executive of Credit Suisse, came out of retirement to help turn UBS around in 2009.

Mr. Grübel cut jobs, shrank the balance sheet and strengthened the private banking operations, but he said earlier this year that the investment banking unit’s performance was still not satisfactory.

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