Christian Hyldahl has resigned as chief executive of Denmark’s biggest pension fund, ATP, saying he wants to avoid damaging the DKK779bn (€104bn) fund’s reputation.
He handed his notice in over the weekend, ahead of an extraordinary supervisory board meeting the pension fund was due to hold today to discuss his future.
Hyldahl and the ATP Group, which is governed by its own parliamentary act, has come under intense pressure from politicians since revelations earlier this year linked the chief executive to the so-called ‘Cum-Ex’ tax scandal, related to the practice of dividend tax speculation.
In his previous job at Nordea, he headed a division that engaged in activities related to the speculation.
Hyldahl, who has been a vocal advocate of active ownership and corporate governance in his brief tenure at ATP, has since responded to criticism about this through the media, saying he now has a different opinion about the acceptability of the legal but controversial investment practice.
In today’s statement, Hyldahl said he was “very happy and proud” to have led ATP, and had tried his best to meet the expectations of society since taking the role in January 2017.
“I have decided to resign because parts of the surroundings that ATP depend on no longer have faith in me as CEO of ATP and I must draw the conclusion that this will not change,” he said.
“At the same time, there is an increasing risk that the reputation of ATP will suffer, which should be avoided on any account.”
Torben Andersen, ATP’s chairman, said in a statement released this morning: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christian on behalf of the entire board of directors for his dedicated work in ATP – and for the way he both in person and leadership-wise has headed the special responsibility which lies with ATP.”
He paid tribute to Hyldahl, saying he had set a clear direction in developing the pension fund’s activities and ensuring good pensions through socially responsible investments.
The supervisory board had been very satisfied with him as chief executive, he said.
“Personally, I have greatly appreciated our collaboration, which was much too short,” Andersen added. “But at the same time, I have great understanding and respect for the decision Christian has made.”
The pension fund said it would clarify the appointment of a temporary chief executive as soon as possible.