Lawrence Churchill is to leave the Pension Protection Fund to become the first chairman of NEST Corporation.
Churchill - the current PPF chairman - will start as chair designate from February 1 and take full responsibilities on July 5, when NEST Corporation takes over from the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority.
He will continue in his PPF position until his term comes to an end in June.
The department for work and pensions said one of his first crucial roles will be the recruitment of the other trustee members of NEST Corporation.
Pensions minister Angela Eagle says: "Lawrence Churchill brings a wealth of experience of pensions to this challenging role, and has a long career of operating at the highest level in large and complex organisations.
"His appointment demonstrates our commitment to recruiting people with a proven track record and the expertise to get the job done. "
Churchill said he was delighted with the position, which comes with a £97,500 annual salary.
He says: "Setting up a trust-based, occupational pension scheme, with millions of members, is going to be a major undertaking, and I look forward to being able to play a major part in this radical change to workplace entitlements.
"One of my first tasks will be to take part in the selection of the other trustee members who will form the NEST Corporation to ensure that it has a wide range of skills and experience to help it launch and run NEST."
PADA chief executive Tim Jones will also transfer to NEST Corporation. He says Churchill boasted extensive experience in financial services and pensions from both an industry and consumer perspective.
"I am confident that he will use his many years of experience to help guide NEST Corporation through the days to come with an expert hand. This is an exciting and critical time for NEST. Lawrence will play a major part in helping to deliver it," he adds.
PADA acting chairman Jeannie Drake says: "We are looking forward to the establishment of NEST Corporation and the part it will play in helping millions save for their retirement. Lawrence Churchill is a very welcome addition to the team and I know he will play a pivotal role in ensuring NEST provides an excellent product for low to moderate earners, designed with their interests at its heart.
"I am really pleased that NEST members will be able to benefit from the knowledge and experience he will bring."
EEF head of employment policy David Yeandle said Churchill was an excellent choice.
"I am delighted someone who has extensive knowledge and experience of pensions has been appointed to the role."
Churchill is a member of the Board for Actuarial Standards, the senior independent director of Good Energy Group plc and of the Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society, and a non-executive director of BUPA.
He previously held executive positions as chief executive for UK, Irish & International Life at Zurich Financial Services and managing director of Nat West Life & Investments
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