Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, in a major break with tradition, has tapped a former UBS Group executive as its first non-Japanese president and chief executive for its American division.

Stephen Cummings, an American, will become the president and CEO of MUFG Union Bank and head all of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's U.S. businesses, including its New York branch, the company said in a press release Thursday. Cummings will also join MUFG Union's board.

"I have long believed that a longer-term CEO position held by an executive native to this market is key to the continuity of business and relationships with customers and communities, as well as a deeper understanding of the regulatory environment," Masashi Oka, executive chairman and acting president and chief executive of MUFG Americas Holdings, said in the release. Cummings "is the right leader at the right time to take full advantage of this position and guide us during this transformational period of our bank's history."

Cummings joins the $113.7 billion-asset MUFG Union having most recently served as chairman of investment banking for the Americas for UBS Investment Bank and head of corporate client solutions for the Americas at UBS Group. Prior to that, he held a number of executive roles at Wachovia, including senior executive vice president and global head of corporate and investment banking.

Last June, Union Bank in San Francisco combined with the U.S. branches of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to form a single company.

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