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UBS CEO to join leading Swiss reinsurance firm

By Ramla Soni

Sergio Ermotti will join Swiss Re's board next month and become chair in 2021

UBS chief executive officer Sergio Ermotti will become chairman of the reinsurance group Swiss Re in 2021, after he steps down from his current role at Switzerland’s largest bank later this year.

More immediately, Ermotti will join the Swiss Re board next month, the reinsurer stated. He will replace Walter Kielholz, a former chairman of Credit Suisse, who has been on the board of Swiss Re since 1998 and chairman since 2009.

During Kielholz’s career, Swiss Re has recovered, with its share price rising from SFr28 when he became chairman to over SFr93 today. Over the past few years, Kielholz has guided the reinsurance group through talks over a deal with SoftBank, which led to nothing, and the sale of its UK life insurance business, ReAssure, to Phoenix Group.

UBS said last month that Ermotti would leave in November after nine years in charge, during which he shrunk the investment bank and focused on growing wealth management.

He will be replaced at UBS by Ralph Hamers, chief executive of Dutch bank ING.

Ermotti said that Mr Kielholz had “immensely furthered the development not only of Swiss Re, but the entire Swiss financial centre”.

Ermotti, who has never run an insurance company, started his career as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and had a stint with UniCredit before joining UBS in 2011. He was made chief executive later that year after his predecessor stepped down.

Swiss Re is recovering after a tough year in which profits were hit by natural disasters in the America, Japan and Australia with heavy claims from corporate clients in the US.

FURTHER READING: Credit Suisse CEO quits following spying scandal

FURTHER READING: Wealthy investors are more positive on global economy entering 2020, UBS survey finds

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