UK – The head of the Tesco Pension Scheme is set to become the next chairman of UK industry body the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) in October.

Ruston Smith, group pensions and insurable risk director at diversified retail group Tesco, will take over as chairman of the organisation after its AGM on 18 October, the NAPF said.

Smith has stressed the importance of governance and regulation as tools to protect pension savers and maximise pension fund returns.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: "Over the next few years, auto-enrolment will bring millions of people into pensions, and the NAPF will be working hard to ensure the reforms are a success.

"Good governance and sensible regulation, which protect savers and focus on maximising retirement income, are vital to build confidence in pension saving."

He will succeed the current chairman Mark Hyde Harrison, whose two-year tenure ends at this year's AGM.

The Tesco Pension Scheme is one of the UK's largest private sector schemes, managing £7bn (€8.2bn) of assets.

Smith commented on his appointment, stressing the increasing flexibility that was now required in pensions.

"As we live and work longer than ever before, our society is redefining what retirement means, and we are shifting away from a traditional and inflexible model where people work one day and retire the next," he said.

He said he was "truly passionate" about encouraging and helping people to save for their future.

"The pensions industry has an important and exciting role to play, and it can make a real difference to individual lives and the wider economy," said Smith.

Mark Hyde Harrison said Smith would bring a wealth of knowledge and his experience to the role of NAPF chairman.

"I am confident he will add to the ongoing success of the NAPF and that he will ensure the views of our members continue to be heard in Whitehall, Westminster and Brussels," he said.

Before joining Tesco, Ruston was a director and company secretary at PZ Cussons, where he was also responsible for their group pensions.

He is an associate of the Pensions Management Institute, a fellow of the Institute of Management and a governor of the Pensions Policy Institute.