UBS picks new CEO with track record in digital banking

Ralph Hamers, new CEO of Swiss Bank UBS, gestures during a press conference in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Dutchman Ralph Hamers will replace Sergio Ermotti, who is still UBS boss, on Nov. 1, 2020.

Shares in bank UBS climbed almost 3% on Thursday after the Swiss firm announced the appointment of a new chief executive who has experience in developing digital business in finance.

Zurich-based UBS said that Ralph Hamers, who is currently the head of Dutch bank ING Group, will join the board on Sept. 1 and start in his new position on Nov. 1.

He will take over from Sergio Ermotti, who was expected to step down after almost nine years. During his time at the helm, he restructured a bank badly hit by the financial crisis and scandals into a firm more focused on wealth management.

UBS credited Ermotti for creating “substantial value” for shareholders, who received more than $15 billion in dividends during his tenure.

Hamers worked up the ranks since joining ING in the early ’90s. In selecting him, UBS highlighted ING’s success in shifting to digital banking.

UBS Chairman Axel Weber called Hamers “a seasoned and well-respected banker with proven expertise in digital transformation.”

“As the industry undergoes fundamental change, Ralph is the person to lead UBS’s continued transformation,” he said.

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