NORWAY - Norges Bank Investment Management (NIBM) is looking for its first permanent head of corporate governance and will increase the team in the department by at least three people over the coming months.

"Being probably the largest equity owner in Europe means responsibility but it also is an opportunity to act on corporate governance," said Knut Kjaer, chief executive at NBIM, which manages the investments of the NOK1.8trn (€223bn) Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global.

NBIM owns on average more than 0.6% in any of the 3,500 companies it currently is investing in.

In 2005, the investment manager hired Henrik Syse from the International Peace Research Institute to set up a corporate governance department. As his two-year contract is coming to an end, NBIM is now looking to make its first permanent appointment to that position.

"We want this to be a very influential position in the global capital market," Kjaer explained to IPE.

"The person chosen will have to state our position as owner, set down demands and work with other funds in order to safeguard our financial interest."

NBIM is looking to appoint someone with a background in senior management in a company and governance competences.

Although the position will be largely Oslo-based, speaking Norwegian is not a requirement for the position.

"We are mostly concerned about competence, experience and personality," Kjaer said.

"NBIM is an English-speaking organisation. We currently people from nearly 20 nations and have office in Oslo, London, New York and soon Shanghai."

Applications will be received over the next two weeks and NBIM hopes to finish the recruitment process over the summer.