Russell Picot, a former HSBC group chief accounting officer, has been appointed a trustee board director for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the UK’s largest private pension scheme by way of assets.

Picot was with HSBC for more than 20 years, leaving in 2016. He was appointed as a trustee of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme in 1999, becoming investment committee chair in 2013 and chair of the board in 2017.

He has also held a number of significant external appointments including roles with several accounting bodies, special adviser to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and a trustee on the Master Trust LifeSight.

Meanwhile, Kirsten English and Michael Merton will both be stepping down from the USS trustee board at the end of January. English has been a director since 2014 and has been chair of the governance and nominations committee and a member of the audit committee.

Merton also became a trustee in 2014 and was subsequently appointed chair of the group audit committee and a member of the remuneration committee.

USS said Picot brought deep experience in pensions as well as “broader environmental, social and governance knowledge that has become of increasing importance”.

Dame Kate Barker, chair of the USS trustees, said: “[Russell] brings a wealth of knowledge of the financial services sector and considerable experience of working with pension schemes. His expertise in how investors tackle broader issues such as climate change will also be a welcome strengthening of our skillset.

“At the same time, we say goodbye to two valued colleagues, both of whom have made huge personal contributions to the work of the board through several valuation cycles during a period marked by increasing regulation and a global pandemic,” she added.

“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to them for their time and commitment which has been greatly appreciated.”

As at 31 March 2020 USS had some £67bn (€76bn) assets under management.

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