DENMARK - Lars Rohde, current chief executive of Denmark's largest pension fund ATP, has been named as new governor of Denmark's central bank.

Rohde, who has been head of the DKK754 (€101bn) ATP Group since 1998, will assume his new post in February next year, with incumbent Nils Bernstein stepping aside as Danish law stipulates the role must be held by someone under 70.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, prime minister of the current social democratic coalition, said the government was "very much looking forward" to working with Rohde.

In a statement, she added that he was "very suited" to solving the tasks facing the central bank. "Lars Rohde has extensive knowledge and experience in the National Bank's responsibilities, and he is widely recognized for his work as director of ATP," she added.

Minister for business and growth Ole Sohn added that Rohde was chosen for being a "heavyweight" of the financial sector and was highly qualified for the role, adding that he "looked forward" to working with him.

The appointment comes after weeks of speculation in the Danish press over Bernstein's successor, with Rohde repeatedly being linked to the role.

Speaking to IPE, ATP chief investment officer Henrik Gade Jepsen said that no decision on Rohde's successor had been made, but that there was plenty of time for matters to be formalised before the current chief executive assumed his new role in February.

Rohde, who in the past has worked as an economist at the Danish Central Bank, has career spanning several decades in pensions. In addition to his time at ATP, he was head of asset management and then deputy CEO at Lægernes Pensionskasse, the industry-wide fund for doctors.

In recent years, he joined the Danish committee for corporate governance and in 2009 was asked to sit on the board of the Forum for Growth, established by the government that year.

It is currently unclear how his departure will affect his role as chair of trustees at ATP's UK pension fund Now: Pensions.