UK – The UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) has named an interim chief executive following the departure of Bill Galvin for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

Stephen Soper, currently executive director for defined benefit (DB) regulation, will assume the role with immediate effect and until a permanent replacement for Galvin has been found.

Commenting on the decision, chairman Michael O'Higgins said: "Stephen has substantial experience of senior roles in both the financial services industry and the regulator. I know he will do an excellent job and is supported by a strong and dedicated team.

"His appointment will ensure we maintain effective leadership and clear accountability while we continue the recruitment process."

Soper added: "I look forward to working with the pensions industry, government and my colleagues at the Pensions Regulator to ensure pension schemes are well run, the interests of members and the PPF are protected and that the rollout of automatic enrolment continues to progress smoothly."

His role as head of the DB regulatory division will be filled by Geoff Cruickshank until the search for a new chief executive is complete.

Soper has more than two decades' experience in the financial sector and began his career at Royal Bank of Scotland.

He has also spent time at Allied Dunbar Group, Zurich Financial Services, Eagle Star and Aon.

Prior to being named head of DB regulation, Soper was head of risk and funding at the regulator.

Galvin announced in late March that he would move to the UK's second-largest fund, USS, replacing outgoing chief executive Tom Merchant.