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Julius Bär picks new CEO from internal ranks

Switzerland's largest dedicated wealth manager, Julius Bär, has appointed a new chief executive officer to replace Alex Widmer, who committed suicide last December.

Boris Collardi, who currently serves as the bank's chief operating officer, will take the helm on May 1.

Johannes de Gier has been the bank's acting CEO and will now continue his role as chairman of the company's hedge fund arm.

Collardi, who was born in 1974, assumes the leadership role at a critical time for Julius Bär as the past few months have wreaked havoc on the company. Shares lost more than half of their value in 2008 and have slipped another third so far this year.

"The appointment has taken away some uncertainty," said Mattias Bueeler, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets. "People were asking about succession planning."

The company has three separate units – a bank, a hedge fund company called GAM, and Artio, an asset-management firm in the United States that hopes to go public as soon as market conditions allow.

swissinfo with agencies

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