Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, this morning announced the immediate departure of its chief legal officer as part of a reorganisation of the three areas under his leadership.
The troubled SEK1.2trn (€105bn) occupational pension provider said: “Alecta is carrying out an organisational change, where the current legal, purchasing and sustainability department is being split up.”
Legal operations would now be concentrated in their own department under the leadership of a general counsel, who was a member of the company’s management team, the firm said.
“In connection with this, the current general counsel and head of legal, purchasing and sustainability William McKechnie has agreed with the chief executive officer to leave Alecta,” the pension fund said, adding that recruitment of a new general counsel would begin shortly.
Alecta has been in crisis since March, following the revelation that large investments in the US niche banks had gone bad, with this failure compounded by serious trouble with its SEK50bn investment in Swedish residential property firm Heimstaden Bostad.
Earlier this month, it came to light that Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen, FI) had reported at least one person to the Prosecution Authority police on suspicion of corruption regarding Alecta’s Heimstaden Bostad investment.
A spokesman for Alecta told IPE that McKechnie, who has been a member of the management team and was acting deputy CEO from May until September this year, is leaving the company today.
In answer to questions from IPE, he said Alecta was giving the legal department a narrower and more focused area of responsibility, but that the priority of the department within the organisation had already been high.
“This is not connected to the investigations regarding those investments,” he said.
Alecta’s purchasing and sustainability units will be moved to the finance department, as part of the reorganisation, and will come under the responsibility of finance manager Camilla Wirth, according to today’s announcement.
McKechnie, who has worked at Alecta since 2021, commented on his departure, saying: “Alecta is carrying out a reorganisation, and my current role is changing.
“Given this, I have agreed with the CEO to leave my position and seek new challenges outside Alecta,” he said.
On Thursday, the Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) said it had started a preliminary investigation into suspected corruption offences after FI made a report in connection with Alecta’s investments.
“I want to emphasise that a low level of suspicion is required to initiate a preliminary investigation,” said preliminary investigation manager Johan Lindmark at the authority.
“The pension administrator Alecta has handed over the material that I have requested, and we are now in an analysis phase which will be decisive for the further processing of the case,” he said.
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