SWITZERLAND - The largest public pension fund in Switzerland, Publica, has elected Dieter Stohler to become its new director.

Stohler, 53, will leave his position as chief executive of the CHF9bn (€7.3bn) Pensionskasse Basel-Stadt (PKBS) at year-end to join Publica from 1 January 2012.

Until then, the CHF33.3bn federal public fund Publica will remain under interim leadership, as its previous head, Werner Hertzog, left at end-June to join Aon Hewitt.

No successor for Stohler at the PKBS has been named, but the Pensionskasse noted the administrative board would be responsible for electing a new managing director.

Stohler had been chief executive of the PKBS since 2000, and before that, he headed the department for foundations and occupational pensions in the canton of Basel-Landschaft.

The Publica Kassenkommission, the body responsible for electing a new director, said Stohler boasted an "excellent knowledge of the second pillar", making him the ideal candidate.

The public fund had recently published statistics according to which Publica was the Pensionskasse with the lowest asset management fees among the 73 pension funds taking part in the government's survey on fees in the second pillar.

While the average annual asset management cost came to 0.56% of the assets under management, Publica, which is managing several mandates in-house, only reported asset management fees of 0.14% per year.