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Ospel set to succeed Krauer as UBS chairman

Marcel Ospel is the UBS board's choice to succeed Alex Krauer

(Keystone)

The chairman of the UBS financial services group, Alex Krauer, who joined the banking group in 1998 at a time of crisis, is to step down, a year earlier than had been expected.

The board of directors is to propose at the annual shareholders' meeting next April that the chief executive officer, Marcel Ospel (50), succeed him.

Krauer joined UBS as interim chairman after the bank chalked up losses of SFr984 million in the 1998 scandal surrounding the Long-Term Capital Management Hedge Fund in the United States.

Its share price fell by 11 per cent and the then UBS chairman, Mathis Cabiallavetta, resigned with three other senior executives.

Krauer was named interim chairman, and described the situation at the bank as "a crisis of confidence". At the time, Krauer was also chairman of Basel-based life sciences group, Novartis.

UBS also said on Wednesday that the board had elected its first non-Swiss chief executive - 50-year-old Luqman Arnold of Britain, who is currently chief financial officer - to replace Ospel as CEO.

Another proposal to be put before shareholders on April 26, 2001, is that the board be internationalised.

"With the merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation behind us, promising strategic initiatives underway, and with UBS in strong financial health, I consider this the right moment to arrange for our top management succession," Krauer said.

The statement said Arnold would remain head of the corporate centre and therefore continue to have direct responsibility for the group's finance and risk functions.

The shareholders' meeting will also be asked to elect new directors from Britain, the Netherlands and the United States, to reflect UBS's global reach at board level.

The three candidates are Sir Peter Davis (58), CEO of J Sainsbury in London, Johannes Antoine de Gier (55), former chairman and CEO of Warburg Dillon Read in London, and Lawrence Allen Weinbach (60), chairman and CEO of the Unisys Corporation in New York.

swissinfo with agencies


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