Chiba is to leave the firm in about three months time once a successor is appointed, but will continue to assist UBS Warburg after this in an advisory capacity. Having worked at UBSW since 1994, he now plans to branch out and establish his own private equity firm.

The Longreach Group, as it is known, will initially have offices in Japan and Hong Kong and one of its main themes is develop closer integration between Japan and the rest of the region.

"I believe the time is right to move to the private equity and investment business, an area in which I have a longstanding interest, " Chiba says. "Looking beyond the difficulties of the present economic environment, it's clear that underlying structural economic change in Japan, inherent growth dynamics in the broader Asian economies and the strengthening integration between these regions, will drive exceptional investment opportunities."

He adds, "An investment firm that combines local cultural understanding and origination reach with a properly disciplined investment approach can capture those opportunities and add value"

Chiba, a keenly intellectual Australian, first joined UBSW in 1994 and moved to Hong Kong in 1997 to become the bank's head of financial institutions. He then became co-head of corporate finance, before re-locating to Japan in 2000 to take up the role of President, CEO and co-head of Japan investment banking.

His current co-head Tomonori Ito will now assume this role on a sole basis.

Prior to UBSW, Chiba worked for Credit Suisse First Boston and before was a lawyer at Blake Dawson Waldron.