* Vassimon left Itaú in 2008
* Replaces Werlang as senior vice president for risk
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Itaú Unibanco Holding SA tapped Eduardo Vassimon as senior vice president for risk and compliance, replacing Sergio Werlang, the bank said on Thursday.
Vassimon, who left Itaú in 2008 to pursue other interests, will be in charge of risk modeling and compliance at all areas of Brazil's largest private-sector lender. He is scheduled to start on Feb. 1, the bank's press office said in an emailed statement.
A source told Reuters earlier this month that the dismissal of Werlang as senior vice president for finance, risk and compliance was probably linked to an internal view that the division was responsible for massive credit-related losses in some segments last year. From now on, Itaú will separate the finance unit from risk and compliance.
Under the new structure, Chief Financial Officer Caio David will report to Chief Executive Officer Roberto Setúbal, the statement said.
Vassimon's return to Itaú comes as the banking behemoth faces weak growth in loan disbursements, a focus on less-risky types of credit that charge lower interest, and a rapid compression in banking spreads. Previous to 2008, he spent his entire professional career at Itaú and Itaú BBA, the lender's wholesale and investment banking division.
The bank is due to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 5, before the market opens. Net income excluding one-time items at Brazil's most profitable bank likely fell 5.9 percent to 3.523 billion reais ($1.78 billion), according to a Thomson Reuters poll of five analysts.
Preferred shares of Itaú Unibanco fell 0.6 percent to 34.55 reais on Wednesday. The stock has gained 4.2 percent this year.