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PKE appoints CEO following staff turnover

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SWITZERLAND - The Swiss energy sector pension fund PKE has appointed Ronald Schnurrenberger as its new chief executive.

The former director of KPMG in Zurich took over the role of CEO on an interim basis when Clivia Koch left in May this year. (See earlier IPE article: Basle City to plug pension hole)

According to a statement issued earlier this year, Koch had decided to leave to “take on new challenges”.

Koch was only named CEO in January this year when PKE changed its structure, placing responsibility for executive management with the new CEO, including for a new  marketing and services department. Koch had been chair of the executive board since 2005.

The pension fund attributed the structural changes to the challenges the Pensionskasse faced following the financial crisis.

Two other staff, Christoph Auckenthaler and Beatrice Fluri, also left PKE in January. They previously headed the asset management and insurance departments. Koch later told a Swiss news service that they had not been happy with the new structure.

Schnurrenberger had been head of the KPMG’s pension fund network in Zurich since 2003 and a year later he joined the foundation board and asset allocation commission of the KMPG pension fund.

Rolf Ehrensberger, former head of credit Europe at Swiss Re in Zurich, also took over as PKE’s head of asset management in June.

Elsbeth Kirchhofer, formerly head of HR at the central Swiss power generation company, will take over as head of insurance this autumn.

The CHF3.8bn (€2.5bn) PKE posted a -15.84% return for its last financial year between April 2008 and end-March 2009 after a -2.24% return for the previous year. The performance was 0.1 percentage points better than the PKE’s own benchmark.

By March 2009 the funding level had deteriorated to 93.65%, from 116.6% twelve months earlier.

At the end of its financial year the fund had 37% in equities (compared to a strategic allocation of 42%), 32% in bonds, just slightly over the strategic mark, 19% in real estate (14%), 9% in loans and 3% in alternatives (both close to the strategic allocation), the rest in liquidity.

PKE manages pensions for 162 companies, has 9,036 active members and 5,322 pensioners.

KPMG confirmed that no replacement for Schnurrenberger has as yet been named.


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