UK - The £11.9bn (€17.6bn) British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme has appointed Philip Read and Nick Watts as chairman and trustee director respectively.

The fund said current chair Sheila Gleig would retire from the role she has held since the privatisation of the coal industry in 1994.

She would be succeeded from May 1 2007 by Read, UK Pensions Manager at Metal Box Pension Trustees Ltd - a role he will retain.

Watts, the former head of European investment consulting at Watson Wyatt, will become a trustee director and chairman of the investment sub-committee.

Watts has been the investment consultant to the scheme since 1994 "and the architect of its investment success over those years" a statement said. He's already handed responsibility for the scheme at Watson Wyatt to Noel Grant.

Gleig said: "The success of our investment strategy has allowed us to pay members increases in pensions which at their peak rose to nearly 30% ahead of price inflation. I look forward to a well earned retirement and am confident I shall be leaving the Scheme in capable hands."

Read added: "Sheila leaves the scheme in good order. There are, however, new challenges ahead as the scheme matures very rapidly over the next decade.

"I look forward to working with my team of trustees, advisers and our executive at Coal Pension Trustees Services Ltd to build on the achievements to date in addressing these challenges.

"To focus skills and effort, while retaining robust scheme governance, I have concluded that we should separate the role of scheme chairman from that of chairing our investment sub-committee and I welcome Nick Watts to that position."

"I am delighted to continue my association with BCSSS," Watts added. "Under Sheila's leadership, the scheme has enjoyed significant success in its investment arrangements. I am looking forward to working with my fellow trustees to meet the many challenges ahead as we seek to build on what has already been achieved."

Earlier this month it was announced that Whitbread's Geoff Mellor would take over from David Morgan as chief executive of Coal Pension Trustees, the executive arm of the UK's more than £25bn (€36.9bn) coal industry funds.