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Philips pension fund investment chief quits

NETHERLANDS – Lars Dijkstra, head of investments at the E13bn pension scheme of electronics giant Philips, is to leave.

The move follows the company’s decision last year to restructure its Schootse Poort pensions management arm.

Dijkstra is to leave the fund on February 1. A Philips spokesman said: “Lars has been with the fund for 13 years, and felt it was time for a change. He is leaving the fund to go on a sabbatical to decide what he wants to do next.”

The spokesman discarded press speculation in the Netherlands that Dijkstra was leaving because he did not agree with the new strategy. “Lars and the pension fund are parting in good harmony, there is no disagreement over
strategy,” he said.

Following a strategic review last year, Philips decided that Schootse Poort, which managed Philips’ pension assets, would no longer be allowed to acquire more third-party clients. It was then renamed Philips Pensions Competence

Dijkstra had focused a lot of his time and energy on getting new business. One Dutch newspaper quoted anonymous sources he was against the new strategy.

The departure of Dijkstra comes amid another high-profile walkout at Progress, the pension fund of consumer goods giant Unilever.

Walther Schapendonk, the fund’s chief investment officer, is leaving amid a plan to pool the scheme’s equity assets.

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