Ingrid Bonde, chair of Sweden’s largest pension fund Alecta, has suddenly quit the SEK1.2bn (€100bn) institution amid months of criticism about her role regarding the large, failed and failing investments that are still holding the firm in a state of crisis.

Alecta announced at 3pm local time today: “Ingrid Bonde has today announced that she is leaving her post as chair of the board of Alecta with immediate effect.”

Bonde said: “In a situation where there has been too much focus on me personally, I have decided to resign.

“With a new CEO and new management personnel on their way in, Alecta is well equipped for its challenges. I now need to devote my time and energy to my family and my other assignments,” said the former director general of Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority.

Jan-Olof Jacke, vice chair of Alecta’s board, is now taking over as chair until a new permanent chair has been elected, the Stockholm-based pension fund said.

Kenneth Bengtsson, chair of Alecta’s Board of Governors (Överstyrelsen) – which sits above the board of non-executive directors – and chair of Alecta’s selection committee, praised the outgoing chair:

Ingrid Bonde at Alecta

“In a situation where there has been too much focus on me personally, I have decided to resign”

Ingrid Bonde, Alecta’s chair

“Ingrid Bonde has, not least during the period as working chairman of the board, with great dedication and personal sacrifice worked for Alecta’s best interests and for this I would like to express my and the board’s great thanks.”

Jacke and Martin Linder, the board’s second vice chair, said in a joint comment that the board was working together with newly-appointed chief executive officer Peder Hasslev and Alecta’s organisation to give customers a good return, secure pensions and “get us out of the crisis of confidence we are in”.

“The Financial Supervisory Authority’s review of how Alecta handled the investments continues,” they said.

“Alecta’s focus or direction is not changing because Ingrid Bonde is choosing to resign,” the pair said, adding that they very much understood her decision, and thanked her for her “significant efforts”.

Bonde has received criticism for her role in the decisions to invest heavily in three US niche banks which collapsed in March, and more recently for being part of the decision to invest in the now financially-struggling residential investment firm Heimstaden Bostad.

Hasslev said earlier this month that the latter investment – booked at a value of SEK50bn – should never have been made.

In April, Alecta’s long-term CEO Magnus Billing was fired due to the US bank losses, following his own sacking of the firm’s equities chief. The pension fund’s CIO was let go this summer having been on long-term sick leave since the end of last year.

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