UK - Partha Dasgupta, chief executive of the UK's Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has announced he will step down from the role in June 2009 in search of fresh challenges.

He said the decision to leave had been "very difficult" but felt now was a "good time to hand the reins over to someone else", while giving the PPF board plenty of time to recruit his successor.

Dasgupta joined the PPF as investment and finance director in January 2005, and was appointed chief executive in June 2006 as the successor to the first chief executive Myra Kinghorn.

But he said: "I've been at the PPF for four and a half years, and although the board was keen for me to continue I felt that over the past few years the achievements of the organisation - becoming fully operational, doing all the things the Pensions Act set out for us to do, getting the levy up and running and processing the first entrants to the scheme - meant now was a good time to hand over to someone else."

As he will not step down until June next year, Dasgupta pointed out he will continue to be focused on PPF developments, including a consultation on the evolution of the pensions levy, as well as working with the government to implement changes to the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and ensuring eligible schemes pass through into the PPF.

However, he admitted he has "no firm plans" once he steps down from his role, and said he intends to "see what comes up and hopefully I will find something new and challenging".

"The PPF is a great organisation, and I'm very proud to have delivered social justice to 140,000 people in the last three and a half years. That's the greatest thing about being with the PPF."

Dasgupta added: "This has been the most enjoyable, challenging and rewarding job of my career and I will look back with enormous pride and satisfaction at what the PPF has achieved in such a short space of time."

Lawrence Churchill, chairman of the PPF, said:  "Partha has made an outstanding contribution to establishing and developing the PPF to the strong position it commands today. The Board, his colleagues - and me, personally - are sorry that Partha has decided to leave but totally understand and respect his decision."

"It has been a great pleasure to work with such a talented individual whose grasp of a wide variety of complex issues has been second to none. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Partha who, I'm sure, will make a great contribution to whatever role he chooses next," he added. 

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, said: "We will be very sorry to see Partha leave the PPF. We have valued his hard work and open approach to working with the NAPF. Under Partha's leadership, the PPF has listened and acted upon many of the industry's concerns."

However, she warned that there is still much to do between now and next June, "not least to ensure that levy payers have greater certainty and that some of the ‘rough edges' in the current levy system are smoothed out".

A spokesman for the PPF said the procedure for recruiting Dasgupta's successor would begin with the appointment of recruitment consultants next month, although he said the process is expected to be "fairly lengthy".

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email