Sir Martin Harris has stepped down as chair of the trustee board for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) after nine years in the role.

He officially stepped down at the end of March, with the scheme set to announce his successor in the coming days.

Harris joined the UK’s largest scheme as a director in April 1991, when he served as vice-chancellor of the University of Essex.

He became deputy-chair of the £41.6bn (€57bn) pension fund in 2004, taking over as chairman two years later.

The university employers representative, Universities UK (UKK), initially appointed Harris to the trustee board in 1991, before he went on to lead the organisation in 1997.

In his final months as chair of the scheme, Harris oversaw a debate between the employers group and trade unions over the future of the scheme.

The current proposals, set to be implemented by the USS board include fully closing the final salary section of the defined benefit fund and moving all members’ future accrual to career-average benefits.

USS opened a career-average section for new employees in 2011, accounting for one-third of the scheme’s members.

In addition to dropping final salary benefits for academics, the fund will become a hybrid scheme with defined contribution accrual for all entitlements above a £55,000 earnings cap.

The current deputy chair, Kevin Carter, is an independent member of the trustee board and became deputy in April 2014, after the retirement of John Bull.