(Correct typo in title)

(Reuters) – UBS announced on Wednesday the surprise appointment of its former boss Sergio Ermotti as chairman and chief executive to lead the massive takeover of Credit Suisse.

Sergio Ermotti, current chairman of reinsurer Swiss Re, was chief executive of UBS from 2011 to 2020.

He will replace current chief executive Ralph Hamers from April 5, UBS said.

Ralph Hamers, who succeeded Sergio Ermotti in November 2020, “has agreed to step down to serve the interests of the new combination, the Swiss financial industry and the country,” UBS said in a statement.

“The board made this decision in light of the new challenges and priorities that UBS faces following the announcement of the acquisition,” the bank added.

UBS ousted Ralph Hamers for his lack of experience with large mergers and acquisitions. He was faced with the task of combining two banks representing $1.6 billion in assets, more than 120,000 employees and a complex balance sheet.

Sergio Ermotti, who led UBS after the global financial crisis, said he was eager to join Credit Suisse.

“The task before us is urgent and difficult,” he said in a statement.

“In order to achieve this in a sustainable and successful way, and in the interest of all stakeholders, we must evaluate all options thoughtfully and systematically.”

(Report John Revill in Zurich, with the contribution of Akriti Sharma in Bangalore, Gaëlle Sheehan, edited by Kate Entringer)

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