UPDATE 1-UniCredit's CEE head to keep role after move from Vienna

(Recasts with official comment)

ZURICH, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Italian lender UniCredit’s head of central and eastern European business, Carlo Vivaldi, will move to Milan from Vienna following a transfer of the Austrian unit’s assets, but he will remain as head of the division, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The Italian native and deputy chairman of UniCredit subsidiary Bank Austria will however leave Bank Austria’s management board following the transfer of assets before the end of the year, Bank Austria spokesman Martin Halama said.

UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, in December announced the restructuring of its struggling retail operations in Austria, seeking cost savings of 300 million euros ($325 million) by 2018.

The bank had previously announced that the shareholding of its central and eastern European assets would be moved from Vienna to Milan by the end of 2016.

But Vivaldi has said the majority of the jobs would remain in Austria.

UniCredit has held talks with U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which with GoldenTree Asset Management owns a majority of Austrian lender BAWAG PSK , about selling Bank Austria’s retail arm.

Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported on Saturday that Vivaldi would be moving in March.

The spokesman said he could not confirm the date of the move but that it was planned before the end of the year.

“For the time being, Mr. Vivaldi is heading the CEE division in Vienna within UniCredit Bank Austria,” Halama said. “And he will continue to head the CEE division.” (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Clelia Oziel)