Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of The Pension Regulator, who has been targeted with criticism by MPs over the regulator’s handling of BHS and Carillion, is to step down,
Titcomb will step down when her four-year contract ends in February 2019.
Earlier this month a report from the work and pensions select committee and the business and energy and industrial strategy committee attacked TPR’s response to Carillion and questioned whether it’s leadership was up to the job. But former pension minister Steve Webb says she has been unfairly targeted for criticism.
A replacement is currently being sought, who will ultimately be approved by the Department for Work and Pensions.
A statement from TPR cited Titcomb’s achievements as including overseeing the automatic enrolment of 9.6m people, securing £363m for members of the BHS pension schemes and £329m for Coats members, taking the amount secured through initiating anti-avoidance action to over £1bn, negotiated enhanced pensions for the members of the British Steel Pension Schemes by securing over £500m from Tata Steel UK to set up a new schemeand securing 7 successful criminal prosecutions for failure to provide information, wilful noncompliance with automatic enrolment duties and recklessly providing false or misleading information to TPR.
Titcomb says: “This has been a difficult personal decision taken after extensive discussion with family and the Chairman. I love working at TPR and am immensely proud of what we are achieving. But as I turn 57 next month, the end of my contract in February 2019 feels like the appropriate moment to find more time in my life for family, friends, other interests and opportunities. However, in the nine months before my departure we have a lot more to do. I will be here leading that work with my strong, committed TPR team.”
The Pensions Regulator board chairman Mark Boyle says:“On behalf of the Board and the whole organisation I want to express our appreciation for the superb job Lesley is continuing to do as our Chief Executive. We respect her decision, but will be very sorry to lose her. She has been a real catalyst for change, working with energy and drive to get results and make a difference to the way we work. Lesley has strengthened our leadership team and will continue, over the coming months, to implement TPR Future, the change programme she and I instigated together which is already making us a more effective regulator.”
Royal London director of policy Steve Webb says: “This is very disappointing news. The legitimate challenges about the work of the Pensions Regulator have recently crossed the line into unnecessarily and inappropriately personal vilification of the current CEO. This is particularly unfair given that many of the events in question happened before Lesley Titcomb was in post.
“Under Lesley Titcomb’s leadership, the Regulator has achieved notable successes including a very high compliance rate with automatic enrolment and pursuing unwilling employers for hundreds of millions of pounds on behalf of members of workplace pension schemes.
“If Parliament wants the best people to lead public bodies, it needs to reflect on whether those people will be willing to subject themselves to highly personal scrutiny and attack of the sort we have seen in recent months.”