UK - The UK's £20bn coal industry pension funds have hired a recruiting firm to find a replacement for Coal Pension Trustees' chief executive David Morgan, who will retire in 2008.

They've hired pensions search and selection firm GTF to find a replacement for Morgan, who's been in the job since 1998.

Coal Pension Trustees is the executive arm of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme and the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme.

"Coal Pension Trustees are anxious to ensure a planned, smooth and successful transition to his successor," a statement said.

In June Morgan become non-executive chairman of Blacket Research, a new pension fund-monitoring firm set up by former Scottish Widows Investment Partnership institutional marketing director Roger Brown.

Norman Braithwaite and Sheila Gleig, respectively chair of trustees at the Mineworkers and BCSSS, will lead the search. They have

"The chief executive role is critical to both schemes and to Coal Pension Trustees and we have been fortunate in having David Morgan as chief executive since 1998," the statement added.

"David will continue until late 2008 and we intend to ensure that his successor has ample time to familiarise themselves with all of the aspects of serving our two major schemes in addition to the service provided to the two ongoing industry schemes.

"This is a very challenging role with some unusual features and is supported by a very professional full-time staff based at Coal Pension Trustees' headquarters in Sheffield".

The appointee would probably join towards the end of 2006 to have two years working with Morgan, CPT and the trustees.

"It is clearly in the interest of all concerned that plenty of time is available for the potential successor to become familiar with the schemes, the trustees, CPT and CPT staff as well as the external advisors and providers," Braithwaite and Gleig said.