The chief executive of The Pensions Regulator (TPR), Lesley Titcomb, is to step down at the end of her contract this February, it has been announced.
Titcomb has been the head of the watchdog for the past four years and in that time has used anti-avoidance laws to force companies and owners to pay more than £1bn into their pension schemes, including the £363m BHS owner Philip Green was made to pay in 2016.
She also secured £329m for members of the Coats pension fund and negotiated enhanced pensions for the members of the British Steel Pension Schemes by securing over £500m from Tata Steel UK to set up a new scheme.
However Titcomb has recently come under fire from the chairman of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Frank Field, who called her response to the collapse of Carillion as “feeble” and said a “tentative and apologetic approach” did not “cut the mustard”.
Titcomb said: “This has been a difficult personal decision taken after extensive discussion with family and the chairman. I love working at TPR and am immensely proud of what we are achieving. But as I turn 57 next month, the end of my contract in February 2019 feels like the appropriate moment to find more time in my life for family, friends, other interests and opportunities.
“However, in the nine months before my departure we have a lot more to do. I will be here leading that work with my strong, committed TPR team.”
The search for Titcomb’s successor will begin immediately led by the TPR chairman, Mark Boyle.The eventual appointment will be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Boyle added: “On behalf of the board and the whole organisation I want to express our appreciation for the superb job Lesley is continuing to do as our chief executive. We respect her decision, but will be very sorry to lose her. She has been a real catalyst for change, working with energy and drive to get results and make a difference to the way we work.
“Lesley has strengthened our leadership team and will continue, over the coming months, to implement TPR Future, the change programme she and I instigated together which is already making us a more effective regulator.”