The UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) has unveiled Lesley Titcomb as its new chief executive after a nearly two-year search.

Titcomb joins from financial services regulator the Financial Conduct Authority, where she is currently COO.

She is expected to take up her new role as head of TPR in March 2015, with current interim chief executive, Stephen Soper, stepping down.

Soper was appointed interim after former chief Bill Galvin’s departure and will move back to his role as executive director for defined benefit (DB) regulation.

Galvin announced he was leaving TPR in March 2013 to become the chief executive of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), one of the UK’s largest schemes, with £42bn (€52.5bn) in assets.

Titcomb, also an FCA board member, has been COO since April 2013 after joining the organisation’s predecessor in 1994.

Titcomb said: “With so much fundamental change, it is important that the industry is overseen by a strong, independent pensions regulator, focused on the issues within the sector, that is respected for its technical expertise and authoritative voice.

“I relish the opportunity of working with the regulator’s high-quality team and with other industry stakeholders.”

Soper will lead the organisation until Titcomb joins in March next year.