GLOBAL - Mercer has promoted Cara Williams to chief operating officer of its investment consulting business. She replaces Jim Hiner, who retires after 20 years with the firm.

Williams, who before once worked on military logistics for the US Army and Nato, has been promoted from chief administrative officer, a role in which oversaw some operations and global client relationships.

A Mercer spokeswoman said Williams had been recruited in 2005 with a view to taking over from Hiner. "It's succession planning, really," she said.

Meanwhile Mercer was awarded an actuarial mandate with Bath and North East Somerset council for its £2bn (€3bn) pension fund.

The local authority awarded the £445,000 contract based on equally weighted criteria including resources allocated, experience of working with local government pension funds, service quality, client communication, value for money and references. The contract is for a six-year period.