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UBS Wealth chief Zeltner to be replaced by Blessing in reshuffle

[ZURICH] Juerg Zeltner, the head of UBS Group's US$1.3 trillion wealth-management unit, is stepping down from the job, Switzerland's largest lender said on Thursday in a statement. Martin Blessing will succeed him in January.

The move is the second high-profile private banking departure in two weeks after Julius Baer chief Boris Collardi left the bank for Pictet. The Zeltner move was reported Thursday night by Bloomberg.

UBS didn't provide a reason for Mr Zeltner's departure. Mr Blessing, the former Commerzbank CEO, will take over his position. Axel Lehmann, currently chief operating officer, will succeed Mr Blessing while Sabine Keller-Bussem, the head of human resources, will assume the role as chief operating officer.

Mr Zeltner, 50, joined UBS predecessor firm Swiss Bank and has been on the bank's global executive board since 2009, according to a biography on the company's website. His wealth-management division held 1.28 trillion Swiss francs (S$1.75 trillion) of client assets at the end of September. UBS also has a separate wealth management unit in the Americas overseeing US$1.25 trillion.

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Mr Blessing currently helps oversee domestic retail banking and corporate lending to Swiss clients. Mr Zeltner is a veteran of UBS, having served the firm for more than 30 years. He joined Swiss Bank Corporation as an apprentice in 1984, UBS said in the statement.