Menno Snel will leave the €509bn ABP civil service scheme on 1 September after only a year in the job.

The decision follows a meeting of the ABP board with the fund’s accountability body last week, in which the latter told the board that Snel’s side job as the president of oil and gas lobby club NOGEPA was not compatible with being an ABP trustee.

Directly after it was made public a little over a month ago, Snel’s appointment at NOGEPA unleashed a storm of criticism. NGO Fossil Free called the appointment shameless, as Snel’s new side job meant he would no longer be able to look objectively at ABP’s investments in fossil fuels.

ABP said in a press release today that it had initially given permission for Snel’s side job because both ABP and NOGEPA aim to foster the energy transition.

“But part of our membership then voiced doubts whether both jobs could be combined, because the speed of the energy transition at ABP and NOGEPA could be diverging,” ABP said.

The scheme’s accountability body told ABP last week that it found Snel’s new side job, which he started on 1 June, “very problematic”.

President Eric van Boven of the accountability body, which represents the pension fund’s members, told IPE: “The job at NOGEPA seemed incompatible to us with Snel’s trustee job at ABP, and we have communicated this to the fund’s board.”

An ABP spokesperson told IPE Snel’s departure is not solely the result of the stance of the accountability body. “Other signals from our membership, such as emails by individual members, have also impacted our decision,” he said.

Side job policy evaluation

Snel and his fellow trustees have now come to the same conclusion. “I remain committed to giving a serious impulse to the energy transition in the Netherlands, but at the same time I do not want to embarrass anyone,” said Snel, who will have been part of the ABP board as the president of the fund’s investment committee for exactly a year upon his departure on 1 September.

ABP president Corien Wortmann said she regreted having to miss “the expertise of an engaged and experienced board member”. “But we have come to this decision jointly,” she added.

An ABP spokesperson said “other alternatives” have also been considered. Snel could have decided to leave his post at NOGEPA instead, for example. It’s not clear why this option has not been chosen as ABP declined to elaborate on it.

The fund has, however, committed to evaluate its policy for side jobs as a result.

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