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Danish pension fund PFA poaches chief executive from asset manager

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Denmark’s largest commercial pension fund PFA has ended uncertainty over its future leadership by appointing Nordea Asset Management chief executive Allan Polack to take the helm at the beginning of April.

The current chief executive of the DKK417bn (€56n) mutual pensions provider Henrik Heideby officially left his job on 22 December and was replaced temporarily by Jon Johnsen while the company set about appointing a permanent leader.

PFA’s chairman Svend Askær said: “Allan’s professional background, experience and the set of values he comes with suit PFA really well.”

He pointed out that Polack had been both chief executive of Nordea Life & Pensions as well as most recently being the overall chief of Nordea Asset Management.

“So Allan has a lot of experience with both pensions and investment,” Askær said.

For his part, Polack described the new role as a dream job.

“PFA has shown great strength over many years recently,” he said, adding that, at the same time, the company had the potential to achieve more.

“PFA stands on a solid foundation and is in the process of exciting developments in a range of areas, and I am pleased to be allowed to be involved in the process and hopefully contribute to it with my knowledge and experience.”

Polack started as chief executive at Nordea Asset Management in 2007.

Before that, he was group director at Nordea Life & Pensions from 2002, having previously had many positions within the Nordea group.

He holds various directorships within the Nordea group, as well as being on the boards of EFAMA (the European Fund and Asset Management Association) and SEI (the Stockholm Environment Institute), but is set to leave all Nordea directorships by the beginning of April, according to PFA.

Heideby led PFA for 13 years.

In October, the company said he had resigned to take on more directorships and give strategic advice.

Askær praised him in December for having made a real difference at the company, having taken on the top role in 2001 – a time when PFA had serious economic problems.

However, in the previous few months, Heideby had come in for harsh public criticism over a potential conflict of interest.

Askær had subsequently called on him to explain how and why PFA was using an advertising agency partly owned by Heideby’s son.

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