Magnus Billing has been fired as chief executive officer of Sweden’s biggest pensions institution, Alecta, despite holding onto the top job for a month since news of massive losses on US bank holdings broke in March.

The SEK1.2trn (€105bn) Stockholm-based pension provider announced this morning: “Magnus Billing is leaving the CEO position at Alecta with immediate effect.

“The board decided this after having further discussions about the right way forward for Alecta and about how trust can be restored,” the firm said.

Katarina Thorslund, Alecta’s deputy CEO, has been appointed acting CEO, according to the statement, in which the firm also said the process to find a new permanent CEO would begin straightaway.

In the meantime, Alecta said, Ingrid Bonde would support the organisation as working chair of the board.

Bonde said: “We would like to thank CEO Magnus Billing for the solid work he has put in during his time at Alecta for the good of the company and the customers.

“At the same time, Alecta now needs to look ahead and forcefully implement the necessary changes,” she said.

News emerged in mid-March that Alecta had suffered big losses on its holdings in Silicon Valley Bank and other US banks, and the firm has since confirmed it has had to book losses of SEK19.6bn on its investments in three US “niche banks”.

“Since then, management and the board have worked intensively to isolate the losses and work through the processes within asset management to understand how the situation arose,” Alecta said today.

It said that its management had, as a first step, assessed that the “current investment decisions” had been within the framework and mandate established by the board.

“The board shares that assessment and welcomes the Financial Supervisory Authority’s review of the course of events,” the firm added.

However it also said the losses had “seriously damaged confidence in Alecta’s asset management”.

Alecta said Billing’s decisions last week “to strengthen asset management” had the board’s full support.

“Under the leadership of Ann Grevelius, who takes over as acting head of equity on April 20, a strategic review of how Alecta will conduct equity management going forward is underway,” it said.

The main elements of that work were expected to be ready for the board to decide on in good time before the summer, Alecta said.

Billing has been CEO of Alecta since April 2016.

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