Satu Huber has quit as president and chief executive officer of Elo, Finland’s third largest pension insurance company, in a sudden departure during an ongoing supervisory investigation into the firm by the Finnish financial supervisory authority (FIN-FSA).
Huber has been replaced by Hanna Hiidenpalo, Elo’s longstanding CIO, who took over on Tuesday as interim president and CEO, the company announced.
Antti Aho, chair of the board of Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company, said in the statement: “Satu Huber has worked as the president and CEO of Elo since June 2015. On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Satu for these years and dedicated work for Elo and its customers.”
Elo has been in serious trouble with FIN-FSA (Finanssivalonta, Fiva) following a breach of its lower solvency limit for one day in March 2020, during the market turbulence when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold outside China.
The authority accused Elo’s management of incompetence and carelessness, in a hearing letter at the end of last September, and sent a representative in to monitor the company at close quarters at the end of December – an unusual move for FIN-FSA.
Huber said in the announcement of her resignation that Elo had been born when the two pension companies Local Tapiola Pension Company and Pension Fennia joined forces.
“Together, we have been able to build a strong company and I feel that now is the right time for Elo to move towards the challenges of the future,” she said.
Hiidenpalo was an “excellent” person to pilot the company until a new CEO was appointed, she said.
IPE understands Huber’s departure was amicably agreed as the appropriate response to management failings exposed in FIN-FSA’s investigation.
A source close to events said the company needed new management direction, and that there were problems with the current internal management culture at Elo.
The integration of the two companies which formed Elo in 2014 had not been a success, the source told IPE, and there was a question whether the necessary changes could be brought about when most of the same management team was still in place.
At the root of Elo’s problems lay the fact that the internal culture of Local Tapiola and Pension Fennia had been very different prior to the merger, according to the source.
Hiidenpalo is to carry on working as CIO alongside her interim role as leader, Elo said.
It also said that the board of directors had launched the search process for a new CEO.