Zurich Insurance wants UBS’ top female banker on its board. The move cements ties between the insurer and the Swiss bank.
Zurich Insurance will ask shareholders to vote in Sabine Keller-Busse as a board member at its annual meeting in April, it said in a statement on Wednesday. She became the first woman to run UBS’ domestic unit when she took over from Axel Lehmann last week.
Ironically, Lehmann spent 14 years at Zurich before joining first UBS’ board, in 2009, and then its management, in 2016. «Her extensive experience in the fields of people management, operations and digitalization complements our board in an ideal way,» Zurich Chairman Michel Liès said.
Kindred Spirit
There, Keller-Busse is likely to find a kindred spirit in Catherine «Cathy» Bessant, who oversees operations and technology at Bank of America. Like Bessant, one of the highest-profile women in U.S. finance, Keller-Busse has spent a good portion of of her career in operations.
In fact she will continue to hold part of the operating chief role at UBS alongside her new job, until CEO Ralph Hamers concludes his organizational set-up. Keller-Busse is also one of two natural in-house candidates, along with private bank co-head Iqbal Khan, for the Swiss bank’s top job, finews.com reported last month. 
Ties between insurance and banking traditionally run deep in Switzerland: Swiss Re Chairman Walter Kielholz also presided Credit Suisse for years, and ex-UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti is due to take over from him in April.

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