NETHERLANDS – Karel Noordzij, who unexpectedly quit as chairman at €71bn Dutch health care fund PGGM today, will get a severance package worth more than €500,000.

According to a PGGM spokesperson, “His severance pay is 24 months salary.” In 2004, he earned €255,000.

Financieele Dagblad reported Noordzij would receive the payment because his contract was broken off under exceptional circumstances.

IPE reported earlier that Noordzij had quit as chairman of the executive directors following an “irreconcilable difference of opinion” with the fund’s governing board. According to a scheme statement, the differences arose over policy matters.

“It has been jointly decided to end the relationship between PGGM and Mr Noordzij,” said PGGM. Noordzij had only been in the post for two years.

According to sources close to the fund, there was an issue about Noordzij’s management style – it was seen as too high profile for the scheme. PGGM declined to comment on this.

In May 2004 – just two months after Noordzij’s appointment to PGGM – the governing board approved a “reallocation of responsibilities” according to the strengths of the respective executive directors, said the Report of the Board of Governors and Executive Directors.

Noordzij was responsible for strategy, ALM, organizational development, renewal, and relationships with the governing board and external contacts.

A spokesperson told IPE the falling out “was not because of one single topic or fight”. Rather, it was due to issues of cooperation between Noordzij and the board of governors.

The announcement came out of the blue. “I am completely surprised,” said Pensioenfonds Metaal en Techniek director Bert van de Belt, commenting on Noordzij’s resignation. He added he was unsure from where this conflict had arisen.

Until a successor to Noordzij has been appointed by the governing board, the other executive directors will perform his duties, with Heino van Essen as acting chairman.

The other directors include René van de Kieft (finance and control director and responsible for compliance and supervision) and Else Bos (investment director, and responsible for asset management).

Noordzij took over from Dick de Beus as PGGM chairman in March 2004. He was formerly a director and interim chairman of the Dutch state-owned rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen.