UK - Michael O'Higgins is set to become the new chair of the UK Pensions Regulator (TPR), replacing incumbent David Norgrove.

O'Higgins, who will work two days a week starting in January, is currently also serving his second term as chairman of the Audit Commission.

He said pensions were rarely out of the news and that he looked forward to the challenges of the role.

"At the top of my in-tray will be helping employers get to grips with their new duties to auto enrol staff from 2012, that all types of pension scheme are well run with members' interests at the centre, and that risks to members and the Pension Protection Fund are properly managed," he said.

"I would also like to thank David Norgrove for all the successful work he has done in these areas."

O'Higgins has previously worked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK Treasury and the Treasury Group Audit Committee.

He is also a visiting professor of economics at the University of Bath and has held academic positions at the London School of Economics, Harvard University and the Australian National University.

Pensions minister Steve Webb thanked Norgrove for his work at TPR, praising his "considerable" contributions.

"Under his leadership, the regulator has established itself as a vital player in the pensions landscape, protecting members' benefits and ensuring schemes are well administered," the minister said.

Norgrove was TPR's first chairman and has served two terms. He announced in August that he would be stepping down.

During his time at the regulator, it has issued Belgian Michel Van De Wiele Group with its first contribution notice.

It also issued a Financial Support Direction (FSD) against 25 companies in the Nortel Group, as well as one against Lehman Brothers.

Both companies have since launched a court case, disputing the FSDs, with Sackers criticising the "rather extreme" stance taken by the companies and the regulator.