Swiss banking giant UBS said on Friday it intends to appoint former German central bank chief Axel Weber as its next chairman, saying that he will be nominated to the board in 2012 and take the post in 2013.
“The board of directors of UBS AG will nominate Axel Weber for election to the board at the annual general meeting on 3 May 2012,” said the Swiss bank. “If elected, the board plans to appoint him as non-independent vice-chairman,” said the bank.
“After his first year in office, he is expected to succeed Kaspar Villiger as chairman of the board in 2013,” it added.
Weber was the president of the Bundesbank and widely touted as a strong candidate to take over as chief of the European Central Bank. But he announced his surprise resignation in February for personal reasons.
Current UBS chairman Villiger said Weber’s appointment would “guarantee a smooth leadership transition and stability”.
Weber also said that “stability and a long-term strategic outlook are key” going forward.
“Being able to help shape the bank’s future is an attractive prospect, and I look forward to working together with the board, the management team and CEO Oswald Gruebel,” said Weber, 54, in the statement.
When he takes over as chairman, the former central banker is expected to receive an annual base salary of SFr2.0 million (€1.6 million, $2.3 million) as well as 200,000 shares which would be frozen for four years. At current share prices, these shares are worth about SFr3.1 million.
Bank Wegelin analysts said the appointment was positive, saying that Weber is “a renown specialist who benefits from a strong reputation and who has proven his competence.”
The analysts also noted that the news would spark speculation about further management changes, including potential successors for chief executive Gruebel.
Gruebel and Villiger took over the helm of UBS at the height of the financial crisis, when the bank was struggling to recover after losing billions of francs.