(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG named JPMorgan Chase & Co,’s Sarah Youngwood as Chief Financial Officer, lending force to Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers’ push to improve the bank’s digital offering and making her the first woman to hold the firm’s top finance job.
Youngwood has been CFO for JPMorgan’s consumer and community banking business since 2016 and has also led finance for the firm’s global technology unit. She is Hamers’ second key appointment to the management board in recent months, after Mike Dargan was named as chief digital and information officer.
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Youngwood will join Zurich-based UBS’s executive board at the beginning of March and formally take over as CFO in May from outgoing CFO Kirt Gardner, according to a statement from the bank on Wednesday.
The hiring also signals that UBS is still working to add greater diversity to its senior ranks. While outgoing Chairman Axel Weber had expressed a wish that he be replaced by a woman, the lender recently appointed ex Morgan Stanley executive Colm Kelleher to succeed him.
Currently, the highest ranking women at the Zurich-based bank are personal and corporate banking head Sabine Keller-Busse, asset management head Suni Harford, and Barbara Levi, who joined in November as the bank’s general counsel. Keller-Busse and Harford were elevated to the executive board in a shake up in 2019 under former CEO Sergio Ermotti.
Read More: UBS Names Colm Kelleher to Take Chairman Role, Succeeding Weber
The changes bring UBS’s ratio of women to men on its executive board to about one third, while on the board of directors there are 4 women and 9 men. On Credit Suisse Group AG’s executive board there are two women and 11 men, after chief risk officer Lara Warner was forced to step down earlier this year amid scandals. Credit Suisse has 5 women on its board of directors and 9 men.
UBS shares gained in morning trading, rising to 16.24 francs as of 11:05 a.m. in Zurich.
Gardner will support Youngwood during a two-month on-boarding period before retiring from UBS to pursue other opportunities in May.
In a more than two decade career at the Wall Street firm, Youngwood worked in a variety of roles within the financial institutions group at JPMorgan’s investment bank in New York, London and Paris. She was also head of investor relations between 2012 and 2016.
“With her strong track record, in-depth finance expertise, and experience across various banking areas, Sarah is ideally suited to lead our finance function into the future,” UBS CEO Ralph Hamers said in a statement.
The Swiss bank surprised many analysts when it named ING Groep CEO Hamers to succeed Sergio Ermotti almost two years ago, given his lack of wealth management experience. Youngwood and Kelleher’s appointments now bring decades of Wall Street experience to the Swiss bank.
Gardner joined UBS in 2013, rising to become CFO and a member of the group executive board in January 2016.
UBS last month also named Lukas Gaehwiler as vice-chairman of the board, elevating him from chair of UBS’s Swiss entity.
European banks are still grappling with the topic of diversity in senior management, with the CEO and CFO roles at most of the region’s big lenders held by white, middle-aged males. Notable exceptions include Commerzbank AG CFO Bettina Orlopp and newly-appointed Societe Generale SA CFO Claire Dumas.
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