Crisis-hit Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, is proposing Denmark’s Lars Rohde as its new chair, as the institution continues replacing leaders associated with the investment disasters that took place under former chief executive officer Magnus Billing.

Rohde, who has led Denmark’s ATP as well as the country’s central bank, is likely to be seen as about the safest pair of hands the SEK1.2trn (€106bn) institution could have chosen.

Kenneth Bengtsson, chair of Alecta’s supervisory board (Överstyrelse), said in this afternoon’s announcement: “Lars Rohde, with his background as head of the Danish central bank [Danmarks Nationalbank] for ten years and CEO of pensions company ATP for 15 years, has a unique background and experience to now lead Alecta’s board.”

“Lars Rohde has the confidence-inspiring personality and deep experience that Alecta now needs to continue restoring trust,” he said.

Bengtsson said Rohde had not worked in Sweden before, and said this was something new for a chair of Alecta’s board.

“His competence, experience and personality are of such calibre that we feel confident with this proposal,” he said.

The supervisory board’s preparatory committee has called an extraordinary meeting of the supervisory board – Alecta’s highest decision-making panel, composed of Swedish employer and employee representatives.

At that meeting on 6 February, the supervisors will elect a new board chair. The pension fund said the proposal to elect Rohde was subject to the usual review by the Swedes FSA (Finansinspektionen).

Rohde said: “Alecta is one of Europe’s largest pension companies with an impressive history and a unique role in the Swedish, party-based security system.

“At the same time, Alecta is facing a serious crisis that has damaged its brand and trust,” he said.

He said he had seen that Alecta’s board and new management had taken important and necessary steps to come to terms with this.

“If I am elected, my main task will be to contribute to Alecta’s recovery and support the management in this work,” Rohde said.

Jan-Olof Jacke is currently Alecta’s acting chair, having taken on the temporary role after the sudden departure of Ingrid Bonde in October following months of criticism about her part in the large failed and failing investments that plunged Alecta into crisis last March.

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