ZURICH, May 31 (Reuters) - The chief executive of SIX Group, which runs Switzerland's stock exchange, will leave the company in the first half of next year and the board of directors is looking for his successor, SIX said on Wednesday.
Zurich-based SIX, which also provides payment services and sells financial information, said it was announcing Urs Rueegsegger's departure early to ensure a smooth succession as it looks to bring in fresh ideas.
"There is no external reason (for leaving)," Rueegsegger, who took over as CEO in early 2008, said in a telephone interview. "Rather it's my belief that a CEO needs to make space for new ideas and impetus."
The plan is for Rueegsegger to stay CEO for the 2017 financial year and present its financial results. He will then step down between March and June of 2018.
Rueegsegger, 55, will remain on the board of the World Federation of Exchanges, where he has been acting chairman, and said he is open to taking on advisory and board positions.
SIX is owned by roughly 130 national and international financial institutions, including Switzerland's two big banks UBS and Credit Suisse.
Its exchange business has weathered competition from multilateral trading facilities, which offer investors an alternative platform for trading, maintaining a roughly two-thirds market share for trading in Swiss blue chips. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Michael Shields)