Denmark’s huge statutory pension fund ATP has poached the head of Nordea Asset Management to step into the shoes of chief executive Carsten Stendevad, who is leaving at the end of this year to return to the US for family reasons.

The DKK805bn (€108bn) pension fund – the largest in Denmark and the fourth largest in Europe – said that, in Hyldahl, it was getting a chief executive with deep and extensive knowledge of financial markets.

Jørgen Søndergaard, chairman of the ATP supervisory board, said: “Christian Hyldahl is a great replacement for Carsten Stendevad, who has done a tremendous job for ATP.”

He said Hyldahl was a leader of high integrity and great judgement.

“Our priority has been to recruit a new CEO who can head ATP at a time in which not just ATP but all institutional investors will be facing big challenges in the task of creating returns on investments,” Søndergaard said.

“Apart from his high level of understanding of the complex parts of the financial markets, [he] has strong leadership skills that will be important for the whole ATP group, including ATP’s large administration business.

“In the end, Christian’s personal characteristics were important for us – professional, decent and modest – which suit the role ATP plays in Danish society well.”

Hyldahl said ATP played a key role in people’s lives in Denmark, as a pensions and administration company for the whole country.

“After many fantastic years at Nordea, I have got a unique opportunity to write a new chapter in my working life, and I am enormously pleased to contribute to ATP,” he said.

“I have followed ATP’s development over many years, and I am looking forward to becoming a part of that development.”

Hydahl was promoted within Nordea to become head of the asset management division in January 2015, filling the gap left by Allan Polack, who was leaving to become chief executive of the country’s biggest commercial pensions provider PFA.

Before that, Hydahl was CIO at the Nordea division for nearly four years.