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UBS Names New Head of Investment Bank

Swiss bank UBS has named Jerker Johansson as head of its investment bank, ending a protracted search that followed the shock write-down of billions of dollars of assets linked to the U.S. subprime crisis.

Johansson, 51, joins the world's largest wealth manager from Morgan Stanley , where he was vice chairman for Europe, UBS said on Wednesday, confirming a Reuters story from a day earlier.

CEO Marcel Rohner said UBS had seen strong performance in the division despite the difficulties and that the bank would seek to strengthen UBS's position "in all areas."

"While this has been a difficult time for the investment bank, because of the losses in fixed income, we have continued to see strong performances in both our equities and our investment banking divisions," Rohner said in a statement.

The European bank hit hardest by the credit crisis, UBS has written down $18.4 billion in subprime losses and will seek shareholder approval for a large capital injection at an emergency meeting at the end of this month.

Earnings Still to Come

UBS publishes quarterly results on Thursday and has warned it expects a full-year loss of 4.4 billion Swiss francs ($3.99 billion) after a fourth-quarter loss of around 12.5 billion.

The bank has had a hard time filling top management positions, with Rohner also heading the investment bank since the bank's first round of subprime write-downs caused the departure of Huw Jenkins in October.

Analysts have said Johansson, though respected, would be a surprising choice, having worked his way up through the equities business and having not previously been a chief executive.

His 22-year career at Morgan Stanley had not been on the upswing lately.

The Swedish executive worked his way up the ranks to become chief operating officer of institutional equities and head of European equities.

He was co-head of global sales and trading and head of global equities at the New York-based bank until December, when co-President Zoe Cruz was forced out for her role in overseeing the money-losing debt trading business.

Johansson was then named vice chairman of Europe, a new position with no staff reporting to him.

"He moved from a job with operating responsibility to more of a senior relationship position where he had to carve out a new role for himself," said one source familiar with the matter.