ATP Real Estate’s newly appointed CFO, Martin Vang Hansen, is taking over as CEO from Michael Nielsen.

The property investment arm of Denmark’s biggest pension fund said Nielsen has decided to step down after nearly 17 years.

ATP said the decision was made to make way for a fresh pair of hands to take charge of the “transformation initiated” by ATP’s CIO, Kasper Ahrndt Lorenzen, to further strengthen investment and management processes across ATP’s investment activities.

Vang Hansen joined ATP in the newly-created CFO role in May this year as part of the firm’s plan to expand its management team to help deal with an increasing workload brought on by its growing portfolio and deals structure.

He was previously chief executive of the Færch Foundation (Færchfonden), a foundation set up by members of Denmark’s wealthy Færch family.

Vang Hansen said: “Michael Nielsen has done a fantastic job at ATP Real Estate. He has developed our real-estate portfolio so that it now stands at around DKK50bn (€6.70bn) and created solid returns for the benefit of Danish pensioners.

“He has done so in line with ATP’s values and with a great understanding of the role ATP plays in society.”

Nielsen has agreed to continue to share his knowledge and experience with ATP. His exact role is yet to be defined.

Nielsen said: “After nearly 17 years, the time has come to hand over the reins of ATP Real Estate. I’ve had a wonderful time at ATP. It makes me proud to think of all the things we have achieved together but it’s of course also with sadness that I now step down and say goodbye to my fantastic colleagues at ATP Real Estate – and in Hillerød.”