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UBS turns to ex-CEO Ermotti to steer Credit Suisse takeover

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Swiss bank UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

UBS Group AG (UBSG.S) named former boss Sergio Ermotti as its next chief executive officer on Wednesday, in a surprise move designed to help steer its massive takeover of neighbour Credit Suisse (CSGN.S).

Ermotti, the current chairman of Swiss Re (SRENH.S), is returning to the bank, where he was chief executive from 2011 to 2020, following the takeover of Credit Suisse.

He will replace current Chief Executive Ralph Hamers from April 5, UBS said.

Hamers, who succeeded Ermotti in November 2020, “has agreed to step down to serve the interests of the new combination, the Swiss financial sector and the country,” UBS said in a statement.

“The board took the decision in light of the new challenges and priorities facing UBS after the announcement of the acquisition,” UBS added.

UBS ditched Hamers, who had no big-ticket M&A experience under his belt and faced the task of combining two banks with $1.6 trillion in assets, more than 120,000 staff and a complex balance sheet.

Ermotti, who led UBS after the global financial crisis, said he was looking forward to integrating UBS and Credit Suisse.

“The task at hand is an urgent and challenging one,” Ermotti said in a statement.

“In order to do it in a sustainable and successful way, and in the interest of all stakeholders involved, we need to thoughtfully and systematically assess all options.”

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