Alum of the year: Lars Rhode, governor of Danmarks Nationalbank

Lars Rhode, the governor of Danmarks Nationalbank, has been named the 2022 Alum of the year at Aarhus BSS in recognition of his many years of service and countless contributions to our society. Read the profile written about him for the occasion.

Thomas Pallesen and Lars Rohde PHOTO: Lars Kruse

“By the time we get to the footnotes, the problem has to be resolved”

CV – Lars Rohde

Governor by Royal Appointment, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Danmarks Nationalbank, 2013 -
Governor for Denmark, International Monetary Fund, 2013 -

Born 21 March 1954


  • MSc in Economics and Management, Aarhus University, 1980
  • Research Council fellowship, 1980 - 81

Previous positions

  • Economist, Arbejdernes Landsbank 1981-82
  • Economist, Danmarks Nationalbank 1982-84
  • Economist, Medical Doctor's Pension Fund 1985-88
  • CEO, Medical Doctors' Pension Fund 1988-89
  • CIO, Realkredit Danmark 1989-92
  • Member of the Executive Board, Realkredit Danmark 1992-97
  • Deputy CEO, Realkredit Danmark 1997-98
  • CEO, The Danish Labour Market Supplementary Pension Scheme 1998-2013

Source: Danmarks Nationalbank

Lars Rohde, governor of Danmarks Nationalbank, wasn’t really interested in financial subjects when he was studying economics at Aarhus University in the 1970s. Paradoxically, however, his career has spanned several top-level positions within the financial sector. Last Tuesday, Lars Rohde was honoured as alum of the year at Aarhus BSS.

When Lars Rohde graduated with a degree in economics in 1980, he was initially intent on becoming a researcher. However, there weren’t really any job openings at the universities at that time.

"I also found out that I probably didn’t have the temperament to sit still and geek out on some problem for years on end. What energises me is moving something, making something happen, and by the time we get to the footnotes, the problem has to be resolved," says Lars Rohde, whose career includes positions as the CEO of the Medical Doctor's Pension Fund, Realkredit Danmark, and the Labour Market Supplementary Pension Scheme (ATP). For the past ten years he has, by royal appointment, served as governor of Danmarks Nationalbank.

Studying economics in the 1970s was quite special, recalls Lars Rohde. Danes had suddenly started talking about the term "balance of payments" and everyone understood that it was in deficit. What is more, the minister of finance at the time was openly stating that the Danish economy was heading towards the abyss.

"We were trained in imbalances and devaluation during the glory days of dogmatic Marxists, who’d rather see centrists like us accused of treason and strung up a tree. It was a rough environment at times, and we vehemently discussed both social conditions and scientific methods,” says Lars Rohde, who mostly looks back fondly on his days as a student.

"We spent most of the day on campus, where there was a lot of synergy between teachers and students. In general, there was a great deal of interest in the subject, and our reading went beyond the syllabus. Good enough wasn’t good enough, and the younger teachers in particular insisted on pumping as much knowledge as possible into our heads. This meant that we were well-prepared when we left those hallowed halls," says Lars Rohde.

Since then, the university world has changed a lot, according to Lars Rohde.

"Universities are in the midst of an upheaval, where they’re often more schools than universities. All the while facing fierce global competition for talent and research funding. Many students have very clear goals for their grades, and I think it’d be nice if there were more focus on independent initiative, insight and commitment, rather than just grades and what’s expected of them.”

When Lars Rohde ends his tenure as the governor of Danmarks Nationalbank and retires at the end of this month, he will be able to keep a close eye on the university sector; He will once again be joining the board of Aarhus University, on which he served in the years preceding his appointment as the governor of Danmarks Nationalbank.