CEO of Danish Pension ATP Resigns After Pressure over Tax Scandal

Fund names CFO and COO Bo Foged as acting director.

Christian Hyldahl

Christian Hyldahl, CEO of DKK779 billion ($118.4 billion) Danish pension fund ATP, has resigned amid public pressure following accusations of questionable tax practices while he was head of a unit of Nordea more than 10 years ago.

The fund appointed Bo Foged, who has been ATP’s CFO and COO since January of 2015, as acting director of the company.

Bo Foged

Last week, five political parties, representing 43% of the seats in the Danish parliament, said they did not think Hyldahl was the right person to head the pension fund, Reuters reported.

“I have decided to resign because parts of the surroundings that ATP depend on no longer have faith in me as CEO of ATP,” Hyldahl said in a release, “and I must draw the conclusion that this will not change. At the same time, there is an increasing risk that the reputation of ATP will suffer which should be avoided on any account.”

According to Danish newspaper Borsen, Hyldahl oversaw a Nordea unit that tried to speculate in dividend transactions on Swiss and French stocks in order to take advantage of a tax loophole, despite the practice being prohibited by Swiss authorities.

Although Hyldahl maintains that the practices were not illegal, and that he thought it was a legitimate business opportunity at the time, he told Danish online media outlet Finans that “today, I think it was wrong” to engage in those transactions.

“Christian has set a clear direction in developing ATP’s activities and ensuring good pensions through social responsible investments, and the board of directors has been highly satisfied with Christian as CEO of ATP,” Torben Andersen, ATP’s chairman of the board, said in a release. “But at the same time, I have great understanding and respect for the decision Christian has made.”

Finans also reported that despite resigning after less than two years on the job, Hyldahl will walk away with 12 months salary, or DKK6.8 million.

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