Denmark’s biggest commercial pension fund PFA has poached the leader of its nearest rival, Danica Pension, to fill the gap that will be left when its long-term chief executive officer quits in March.

Ole Krogh Petersen, CEO of Danica Pension since October 2018, has been appointed by PFA as its new group CEO, the latter firm announced today – though it said he would not begin working in the role until 1 December this year.

Krogh Petersen will eventually fill the shoes of Allan Polack, PFA’s group CEO who is leaving on 7 March following the announcement of his departure a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, Danica Pension said it had appointed its current deputy CEO and commercial director Søren Lockwood as interim CEO.

PFA has already said that group executive vice president Mads Kaagaard will be acting group CEO after Polack leaves, and today the firm said Kaagaard would remain in the top role temporarily until Krogh Petersen joined the company.

Peder Hasslev, chair of PFA’s board, said: “Ole and PFA are a good match. He has great experience and vast competences within the pension area as he knows the market and the increasing regulatory framework inside out.”

In addition to his “strong qualifications”, Hasslev said Krogh Pedersen also stood for proper conduct and thoroughness, “and PFA’s values of being professional, fair and accountable are words I wouldn’t hesitate to use to describe Ole.”

Krogh Petersen, for his part, said: “There is no doubt that this is a dream job for me,” adding that as a customer-owned market leader with more than 1.3 million customers, PFA was a significant player in the pension industry and in society.

Over the last few years, the size gap between the PFA and Danica Pension, Denmark’s second largest commercial pension provider, has widened, with PFA’s pension assets increasing at a faster pace.

In December, Danica announced it was selling off its Norwegian business, two and a half years after offloading its Swedish business.

The disposals have happened in a period when the parent bank, Danske Bank, is facing lawsuits involving huge potential payouts because of a money-laundering scandal.

Lockwood was CEO of SEB Pension for almost five years before it was acquired by Danica Pension in 2018.

Danica Pension’s board chair Glenn Söderholm said that as commercial director, Lockwood had been “the main man behind the impressive growth that Danica Pension had last year”, and so he was “completely confident that we have a strong management and skilled colleagues who can ensure that we can continue our strong momentum.”

Danica said in its announcement today that it expected to be able to present a permanent CEO within the coming months.

The loss to Danica of its CEO means all three of Denmark’s largest pension funds – including ATP – have announced departures at the very top of the executive team this month.

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