July 1, 2011 / 8:38 AM / 8 years ago

Analyst View: UBS names Axel Weber future chairman

(Reuters) Swiss bank UBS said on Friday it had nominated former Deutsche Bundesbank President Axel Weber to its board and expected him to succeed Kaspar Villiger as chairman of the board in 2013.

Europe’s largest wealth manager in terms of assets said its board of directors would nominate Weber to the board at the annual general meeting in May 2012 and, if elected, it expected him to succeed Villiger after his first year in office. Here is what analysts and fund managers have to say:

FLORIAN ESTERER, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, SWISSCANTO, ZURICH

(manages 57.6 billion Swiss francs ($68.33 billion) in assets and holds UBS shares worth more than $180 million)

“We think this is a smart move. Axel Weber is one of the smartest bankers on this side of the Atlantic. One of his problems was that he wasn’t really a politician. He is a very strong character who is not afraid of voicing his opinions as he has done at the head of the Bundesbank. He knows banking inside out. It could work out very well for UBS.”

JAN PIETER KRAHNEN, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE AT THE GOETHE UNIVERSITY FRANKFURT (and a former Colleague of Weber)

“I am glad the recent speculations about Axel Weber’s future career will now come to a decent end. The two key features of the announced position are in my opinion: first, Weber assumes a leading role in banking as the chairman of a supervisory board and, second, the board seat will be held at a financial institution outside Germany. Both of these features will surprise some of the commentators who predicted that Weber would look for an executive role in Germany.”

HEINO RULAND, ANALYST, RULAND RESEARCH, FRANKFURT

“Money makes the world go round — UBS is known for having to pay huge premiums for “Tier one” personnel. From UBS’s standpoint (this is) certainly an achievement as it lacks managerial credibility. From Axel Weber’s standpoint (it is) certainly a challenge moving UBS to the standing it used to have. From my standpoint, why a second-class bank when others were also offering a job?”

DIRK BECKER, ANALYST, KEPLER RESEARCH, FRANKFURT

“We believe this is an excellent appointment for UBS as Weber brings a lot of expertise in the banking industry, but also valuable political contacts, which could help the bank to find its way in the new regulatory environment.”

KONRAD BECKER, ANALYST, MERCK FINCK, MUNICH

“This really does come as a surprise. I thought it was more probable that we would look toward Deutsche Bank. If he really is elected as chairman of the board, then his chances of occupying a post at Deutsche Bank in parallel are obviously zero. This also changes the race for (Joseph) Ackermann’s succession and poses many new questions.”

($1=.8429 Swiss Franc)

Reporting by Josie Cox and Martin de Sa'Pinto; editing by Sophie Walker; Editing by Mike Nesbit

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