SWITZERLAND - The UBS pension fund has announced it will have a new chief executive from next year. But further changes to the fund's structure could be on the cards as officials are reviewing whether to split the CEO/chairman role at the investment board.

Christoph Schenk was chief executive of the pension fund until recently, but moved inside UBS Group on 1 October to become chief investment officer of the firm's wealth management and Swiss banking team. (See earlier IPE story: UBS pension fund in need of new head)

Yvonne Scheidegger-Blatti assumed the interim CEO position from that date, having worked for the pension fund since 2007 to look after advisory, admin, IT and communications. Yet a statement from the pension fund said Scheidegger-Blatti is being promoted to deputy CEO from 1 January 2010, when the new chief executive arrives.

Urs Schaffner will head up the pension fund from January and use his knowledge of the Swiss occupational pensions plans. He is currently the Swiss market manager at Hewitt Associates and a member of its executive board for Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. He was also at Zurich Financial Services Group for some time prior to Hewitt as head pension fund consultant.

As importantly, his arrival in January could signal a bigger reform of the pension fund structure as the fund's foundation board said it is using the personnel changes to "review the organisational structure of the pension fund and the dual function of CEO and chairman of the investment board at it exists at present".

A decision on this matter will be made by the end of January 2010, said the board, so former CEO Schenk will maintain his chair of the investment board in the meantime.

Elsewhere within the pension fund, Alex Nötzli has been deputy CEO of the pension fund for some time but is now planning to retire when Schaffer arrives and Scheidegger-Blatti takes over his current position.

Alain Robert, president of the pension fund's foundation board, noted Nötzli has "successfully managed the PF UBS as deputy CEO for many years, even through difficult times". He added: "His experience, flexibility, and passionate enthusiasm for the PF UBS contributed significantly to the solid position in which the PF UBS currently find itself, and we are extremely grateful to him for this."

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