NETHERLANDS - Joep Schouten has announced he will step down as chairman of pensions provider Cordares on October 1.

Schouten, 59, has led Cordares for 13 years but will now be succeeded by Adri van der Wurff, 49, who has been member of Cordares' board since 2001.

Van der Wurff joined Cordares in 1987 and became been deputy director for strategic development in 1997.

"With great enthusiasm, I have worked for the interests of clients, workers and employees, and the development of the Dutch pension system. Codares has grown into an independent and leading pensions provider," Schouten commented.

Responding to the announcement, Lense Koopmans, chairman of Cordares' supervisory board, added: "Joep Schouten has led Cordares to become what is now a very healthy pensions organisation, with proper commercial capacity."

Schouten's announcement came at the same time as Cordares published its 2006 figures, revealing a record turnover rise of 7.5% to €207m. Cordares' assets under management also increased by 25% to €25.5bn in 2006.

According to Schouten, publication of the latest results are a ‘natural milestone' for him to leave the company, and "to make a new turn to his career" but he declined to be more specific about his plans for the future.

Cordares is a specialist provider of pensions and income insurance to over one million people.