* Weder di Mauro is former World Bank, IMF economist
* Romy is international litigation and arbitration specialist (Adds comment from Weder di Mauro, analyst comment.)
By Katharina Bart
ZURICH, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS wants two Swiss women to join its board to beef up its central banking and legal expertise as chairman Kaspar Villiger and former Swiss National Bank governor Bruno Gehrig prepare to exit in May.
UBS said on Friday it would put Beatrice Weder di Mauro and Isabelle Romy up for election at May's shareholder meeting, as the 65-year-old Gehrig steps down.
Villiger, a former Swiss finance minister, had previously said he would not seek re-election after proposing former Bundesbank president Axel Weber as his successor.
Weder di Mauro has been an economist for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as being part of the German government's panel of economic advisors since 2004.
Touted as a potential SNB governor after president Philipp Hildebrand resigned last month after a scandal over his wife's currency trading, Weder di Mauro made clear she is increasingly seeking private sector work as opposed to public service. Weder di Mauro said she had asked the German government not to appoint her for another term in order to "avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest".
She is also on the board of Swiss drugmaker Roche and German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.
Romy is an academic and partner at Swiss securities law firm Nieder Kraft & Frey, where she specialises in international litigation and arbitration. She has also served as a federal judge and member of the Swiss bourse's sanctions committee, a regulatory enforcement body.
Incoming chairman Axel Weber supports both nominations, UBS said. Weber, set to become chairman at the May meeting, already holds considerable sway, according to bank insiders.
Currently, former Northern Rock and Swiss Re financial head Ann Godbehere is the only woman on UBS's board after Sally Bott left a year ago to join Barclays.
The appointments were welcomed by Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Andreas Venditti.
"From their profiles, Weder di Mauro and Romy are suitable candidates with two very different professional fields of expertise. This will be valuable to UBS," Venditti said. He rates UBS at marketweight. (Additional reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Dan Lalor and Will Waterman)