Sarah Youngwood, a former JP Morgan Chase executive, has been appointed as the Swiss bank's group chief financial officer, marking a rare female appointment in European banking's upper echelons.

Youngwood will succeed current CFO Kirt Gardner when he leaves down in May 2022, according to Switzerland's largest bank.

After observing that only 8% of top executives of European credit and investment institutions were women, the European Central Bank indicated earlier this year that it wanted to see more diversity on bank boards and among executives.

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The ECB's supervisory board underlined that only a fifth of the positions on management bodies of Europe's top banks are held by women, as it started a consultation on new guidance for who would make fit and proper executives and board members.

In a blog post, supervisory board members Frank Elderson and Elizabeth McCaul said, "The European banking landscape is beginning to include more women, but progress is still too slow,"

Alison Rose and Katie Murray, CEO and CFO of NatWest Group, and Ana Botin, group executive chairman of Banco Santander, are rare examples of women in leadership positions.

Only three of UBS's 12-member executive board are women, however, Youngwood's appointment would bring the total to four.

UBS CEO Ralph Hamers expressed his delight at Youngwood's decision to join the firm. In March, she will join the executive board.

"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."

Youngwood, who holds dual citizenship in France and the United States, has been the financial chief of JPMorgan Chase's Consumer & Community Banking division since 2016, according to UBS.

Youngwood has led finance for JP Morgan Chase's worldwide technology unit, as well as its diversity and inclusion team, since 2020.

She was the head of investor relations for JPMorgan Chase from 2012 to 2016, after spending 14 years in various roles in JPMorgan's Investment Bank's Financial Institutions Group in Paris, London, and New York.

Youngwood will be assisted by departing CFO Gardner, who has been CFO since January 2016, during her two-month onboarding period before departing UBS in May, according to UBS.