UK – NM Rothschild managing director Jeremy Stone is to take over as chairman of the WH Smith Pensions Trust from Martin Taylor as of April 1.

Taylor has been appointed chairman of Syngenta in Zurich, the retail firm said. Taylor, a former chief executive of Barclays, achieved prominence in the pensions industry in 2004 when the WH Smith trustees effectively blocked a £940m approach by private equity firm Permira to take the company private.

Stone, former group finance director of Lazard Brothers & Co., was appointed as an independent trustee of the trust in 2002.

“On behalf of the company and our pensioners I would like to thank Martin for his strong leadership and invaluable contribution in chairing the Pension Trust over the past seven years,” said WH Smith chairman Robert Walker.

“We are delighted Jeremy has agreed to become chairman of the Pension Trust,” he added. “As an independent trustee he has been instrumental in delivering the successful changes we have made to the funding arrangements.”

In October the scheme moved to a liability-driven investing approach from State Street in a bid to limit volatility and cut risk, using a solution provided by State Street.