UK - The 13.6 billion pound (19.5 billion-euro) Railways Pension Trustee Company, Railpen, has confirmed that Chris Hitchen will take over as chief executive from Peter Murray, who is retiring.

Railpen said in a statement that Murray, 62, would continue serving as a trustee director. Murray told IPE in April that he might consider some independent consulting work.

“He Murray has guided the Railway Pension Schemes through a period of substantial change in the sponsoring industry, as well as considerable turbulence in asset markets,” Railpen said.

Murray said: "The promotion of Chris reflects his significant contribution since he joined us in 1998.” Hitchen was previously responsible for investment management strategies involving around 30 external fund managers and more than 200 railway industry employers.

“His fund management and consultancy expertise will help us continue to deliver strong performance and secure pensions for our 350,000 members,” Murray added.

Hitchen is also vice chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds’ investment council and a member of the NAPF board.

Before joining Railpen in 1998, he was a principal at Aon Consulting, where he specialised in investment consultancy.

Railpen chairman James Jerram commented: “Peter Murray has provided great wisdom and steadiness in overseeing the affairs of Railpen over the last seven years, whilst also contributing to wider pensions policy at the national level, principally through the NAPF.”

“I am confident that the appointment of Chris Hitchen will provide us with continuity of leadership in an evolving pensions world.”

Railpen’s pension assets are managed through pooled investment funds, while pension scheme administration and investment strategy are performed in-house.

“In today’s largely privatised railway, there are over 100 separate independently valued pension schemes and sections, which in the aggregate provide benefits to members employed by over two hundred employers,” Railpen said.