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UBS interim CEO to drop non-UBS obligations

File photo of newly appointed Swiss bank UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti smiling during a Reuters interview in downtown Milan
File photo of newly appointed Swiss bank UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti smiling during a Reuters interview in downtown Milan

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS AG said on Thursday interim Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti, in office for nearly a week following the departure of Oswald Gruebel, would drop his business responsibilities with other companies.

Switzerland's biggest bank in a statement rejected as "damaging" and "untrue" media reports about Ermotti's private board membership mandates, saying it had in fact approved them.

"In his new role as the CEO of UBS, which requires his full attention, Sergio Ermotti will hand over all of his private mandates in a quick but orderly manner," UBS said.

Several Swiss newspapers had reported in the past week on Ermotti's business dealings apart from UBS.

The UBS board of directors accepted on Saturday the resignation of German-born chief executive Gruebel, 67, after its scandal-hit investment bank lost $2.3 billion in alleged rogue trading.

The board appointed Ermotti, who hails from Switzerland's Italian-speaking region of Ticino, on an interim basis.

Ermotti pursued various business interests in Lugano, including as president of Lugano-based Darwin Airlines. He was also a co-owner of a chain of luxury hotels.

To aid its search for a permanent successor, UBS has hired head-hunting firm Egon Zehnder International and also approached former JP Morgan Chase & Co executive Bill Winters, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Egon Zehnder International was not immediately available for comment. Both UBS and Bill Winters also declined to comment.

Chairman Kaspar Villiger has said Ermotti, already being groomed as a possible successor since he joined UBS from UniCredit SpA in April, was a strong candidate to take over as CEO permanently.

(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; additional reporting by Steve Slater in London; editing by Matthew Lewis and Andre Grenon)