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UBS wants Ospel to stay

Switzerland's largest bank UBS has proposed re-electing chairman Marcel Ospel to its board, despite criticism over the bank's handling of the subprime crisis.

However, UBS said in a statement on Thursday that it wanted to cut Ospel’s tenure – and that of any new or re-elected board members – to one year from the previous three years.

Ospel has come under heavy pressure after the bank posted a SFr4.38 billion ($3.96 billion) loss last year as a result of the United States subprime crisis.

UBS also admitted this month that it still had tens of billions in new exposure to risky investments.

The bank will ask for approval for the tenure plan at its annual shareholders’ meeting in April. It said it hoped that by 2010 at the latest that the entire board of directors would be confirmed on a yearly basis at the annual general meeting.

“With these moves we have strengthened the leadership structure in order to manage UBS’s current challenges,” said Ospel in the statement.

In a separate shareholder meeting next week UBS will ask for approval for a SFr13 billion emergency cash injection from Singapore and the Middle East. Other recovery measures ahead include the reissue of 36.4 million treasury shares and 1,500 job cuts.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR