UBS appoints Keller-Busse to lead Swiss unit, first big move under Hamers

Adds memo, analyst comment, share price

ZURICH, Dec 4 (Reuters)UBS Group UBSG.S on Friday named Chief Operating Officer and President EMEA Sabine Keller-Busse as president of UBS Switzerland, the first big revamp since Chief Executive Ralph Hamers took the reins at the world’s largest wealth manager last month.

Iqbal Khan, co-president of global wealth management, will succeed Keller-Busse as president EMEA, in addition to his current role, UBS said in a statement.

Keller-Busse, who joined UBS in 2010 and was named group COO in 2018, succeeds Axel P. Lehmann, who is stepping down from his roles as president personal & corporate banking and president UBS Switzerland at the end of January 2021, and will leave the bank at the end of July, UBS said.

She is the first woman to lead UBS’s Swiss business.

“I have known Sabine for many years and am sure that she will achieve many more successes with you,” Lehmann wrote in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

This decision had been expected and shouldn’t surprise anybody,” ZKB analyst Jose Javier Lodeiro said in a note, putting the value of the Swiss unit at $11.8 billion, or 22% of estimated fair value of the group.

He said Keller-Busse knew UBS’s Swiss business very well. “From our point of view, Keller-Bussse is the right choice. She has a good track record, in particular in the digital area.”

Lodeiro said Khan’s appointment as president EMEA on top of his current role gave him a bit more power inside the bank.

All changes are effective Feb. 1, UBS said.

UBS shares opened 0.6% higher.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Oliver Hirt Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Michael Shields)

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