Alecta, the huge Swedish occupational pension fund trying to recover its reputation, has dropped its proposal to hire Lars Rohde, a former governor of Denmark’s central bank, as its chair.

In a statement on Tuesday, it said Rohde had failed to tell them he was already up for a board job at a competitor.

In his place, Alecta said it was now proposing Carina Åkerström as permanent chair of the the SEK1.2trn (€106bn) pension fund, which has seen the exits of its highest leaders and many other staff in the crisis over bad investments which began last March. Åkerström is former CEO of Handelsbanken. 

Rohde was proposed as Alecta’s new chair on 23 January, with Kenneth Bengtsson, board member and chair of Alecta’s review board, saying at that point: “Lars Rohde has the confidence-inspiring personality and deep experience that Alecta now needs to continue restoring trust.”

On Tuesday the firm said: “After Lars Rohde was proposed as the new chairman of the board of Alecta, it has come to the attention of the committee that Rohde will accept a proposal to join another board in the near future.”

That board is reported by Swedish pensions news service Pensionsnyheterna as being banking group Nordea.

“Alecta’s committee makes the assessment that these two assignments are not compatible for competitive reasons,” the pension fund said.

The Rohde proposal was therefore being withdrawn ahead of the extra board meeting on 6 February, and Åkerström was being proposed instead, with the board meeting now rescheduled for 22 February.

“Carina Åkerström is an excellent suggestion and was one of our two final candidates,” said Bengtsson, adding that she had extensive experience in the Swedish financial sector.

“It is ultimately concern for Alecta’s integrity and reputation that makes us take this step,” he said.

“It is regrettable that Rohde did not inform us in time that he was involved in a board process in a company whose operations undoubtedly bear similarities to Alecta’s,” Bengtsson said.

Åkerström said it went without saying for her to accept the offer to chair Alecta, even if she had not expected the question at this point.

“But sometimes unexpected things happen and I’m used to working flexibly,” she said.