FRANCE - Francis Mayer, chairman of the executive board at the €29bn Fonds de Réserve Pour les Retraites and chief executive of the Caisse des Dépôts, the French civil servants' fund, has died aged 56.

He passed away on Saturday morning after a long illness. Both institutions said they were "deeply saddened" by his death.

Mayer is the second leading European pensions figure to die recently, following the death of Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP board chairman John Neervens last month aged 60.

Until a new CEO is appointed for the Caisse, who will automatically become FRR chairman, Antoine de Salins, executive board member at the FRR, will be interim chairman of the reserve fund.

Mayer, who had been director general of the Caisse des Dépôts since 2002, "fought his illness up to the last moment with great dignity and a strong will", the pension fund said in a press release.

Raoul Briet, chairman of the FRR's supervisory board, paid tribute "to the eminent role played by Francis Mayer in the implementation and management of the FRR."