HEERLEN, Netherlands — Jean Frijns, chief investment officer of the €150.4 billion ($185 billion) Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Europe's largest pension fund, plans to retire at the end of 2005, according to several sources.
Mr. Frijns, who is also chief executive officer of ABP Investments, the fund's asset management arm, denied what he called rumors.
But one Dutch consultant, who asked not to be identified, said he has been approached by headhunters in the domestic market for suggestions on a successor to Mr. Frijns. The consultant said it was unclear if the headhunters have been asked to find appropriate candidates or are priming themselves for the assignment when it becomes available.
Meanwhile, the rumor mills are quiet as to a possible successor. Sources would not speculate on who would replace Mr. Frijns. However, Brussels-based Koen de Ryck, chairman and managing director of Pragma Consulting — who was one of the people saying Mr. Frijns will retire — said that historically, top-level management has been hired from outside ABP. A Dutch headhunter, who had knowledge of Mr. Frijns' retirement plans but would not be identified, also said recruitment would most likely be done outside of ABP. Because it is a public fund, the government would be required to advertise for the position, so it might well be that the replacement would be a government employee, said the headhunter.
Other top personnel changes at the fund will take effect Jan. 1, 2005. Jelle Mensonides, chief investment officer of alternative investments, will be moving to New York from ABP's Amsterdam office to assume Paul Spijkers' role as president of ABP Investments in the United States. Mr. Spijkers will assume Mr. Mensonides' role in Amsterdam. Mr. Spijkers' move back to the Netherlands was announced last October. While Mr. Spijkers' return might be an indication that he is in line to succeed Mr. Frijns, the Dutch consultant said that was conjecture.