Helen Dean to step down as Nest CEO

26 July 2023

Helen Dean CBE has announced her intention to step down as Nest CEO after nearly 8 years in the role. Her time at Nest saw the scheme grow from a policy idea to one of the largest pension schemes in the UK.

Before Nest was formed, Helen was one of the architects of the hugely successful auto enrolment policy at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Her team was tasked with coming up with a solution to the UK’s chronic under-saving in pension. Their solution, incorporating inertia into enrolment has helped millions of UK workers start contributing into a pension, many for the first time.

From DWP Helen moved to The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), Nest’s predecessor, changing from policy to delivery. Helen and the PADA team were faced with a blank piece of paper and a big challenge – to build a low-cost, high-quality pension scheme from scratch.

More than a decade later Nest stands as the largest UK pension scheme by members (12 million), responsible for investing around £450m a month on behalf of its members. Its award-winning investment strategy is reversing decades of pension under-saving in the UK, helping more people to a more financially secure retirement.

During her time as CEO Helen has also signed the Women in Finance Charter on behalf of Nest, overseen the creation of Nest’s first diversity groups and published Nest’s gender and ethnicity pay reports, committing Nest corporation to a path of continual improvement.

Commenting on her announcement, Helen paid tribute to the people who she’s worked with over the years:

“The success of Nest is down to the hard work of many, many people I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years. I’m delighted to have played my part in Nest’s story and can’t wait to watch how it continues to flourish in the future. Nest will always have a special place in my heart.

“It’s important for the continuity of Nest that the Board has plenty of time to run a competitive and thorough recruitment process, as the priority will be finding the right person for the role. I’m therefore confirming that I’ll be leaving Nest next year to allow someone else the honour and privilege of this wonderful job.

“With the new scheme administrator contract in place, I feel confident now is the right time to step down and allow my successor to continue driving forward the digital transformation of Nest’s platform.”

Nest’s Chair, Brendan McCafferty, said:

“Helen has helped revolutionise workplace saving, and the fantastic position Nest finds itself in is down to her excellent leadership. I deeply value her energy, expertise, and passion for ensuring the Nest project she started all those years ago remains a success.

“Our focus now is the bright future ahead of Nest. We will begin by looking for the best person to fill Helen’s shoes, not an easy task, and I am confident we will find someone who can build on the strong foundation Helen helped create, advancing our digital scheme and providing a world class service, for millions of people across the UK.

“I wish Helen all the best for whatever challenge she chooses to take on next.”

Source: NEST
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