NETHERLANDS - Ed Nijpels will become the new chairman of ABP, the €180bn pension fund for civil servants and teachers, from 1 August.

Nijpels, 59, is currently chairman of the lobbying organisation for consulting engineers (ONRI ) but will relinquish his positions at other organisation as soon as replacements have been appointed, and succeed Elco Brinkman, who stepped down on 1 April.

The new chairman (pictured) was previously leader of the liberal party VVD, as well as minister of housing, planning and environment (VROM), mayor of the city of Breda and Queen's Commissioner in the province of Friesland.

"Nijpels has ample experience in the public sector, and he has the qualities needed for chairing a board with equal representation," said ABP's board in a statement.

Harry Borghouts had been appointed as interim chairman at ABP but stepped down earlier this month following political pressure from the county council of Noord-Holland, where he is also chairman. (See earlier IPE story: Borghouts quits ABP amid poliitical pressure)

Borghouts early departure was related to the county's loss of €86m through its investment in the collapsed Icelandic bank Icesave.

ABP stressed Nijpels' appointment signals the ABP's board - made up of representatives of employers and (former) workers for government and education - preference for a chairman who is independent from the board members, as it noted the new chairman will not have the right to vote.

The ABP board is responsible for implementing all aspects of the pension scheme's management, including its policy on contributions, investment and indexation, as well as deciding on its recovery plan.

The board is being advised by councils of employers and participants, and external bodies which provide advice on, for example, investment policy.

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