• Helen Dean CBE, appointed to chair Standard Life Master Trust board
  • Gurmukh Hayre appointed as trustee director

Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, has made two high-profile appointments to the Standard Life Master Trust Company Limited board (SLMTC).

Helen Dean CBE, the outgoing CEO of NEST, is to take-up the role of Chair of the SLMTC, overseeing the interests of more than 300,000 master trust scheme members.

Ms Dean’s appointment will take effect in May 2024, subject to regulatory approval, replacing current Chair Richard Butcher after a long and distinguished tenure as a board member of SLMTC and its Chair since 2015.

Helen Dean is one of the leading figures in UK pensions with a long-standing interest in addressing financial inequalities and promoting financial resilience.

She has led some of the most significant developments in pensions over the last two decades and is credited as the architect of the programme that delivered auto-enrolment in 2010. Helen was also instrumental in establishing a low-cost pension scheme for the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), prior to it becoming NEST. Helen has been CEO of NEST since 2015.

Helen is also a Trustee and Non-Executive board member of Step Change, together with being a member of the Council of Scholar Advisors, Centre for Recruitment Initiatives, Georgetown University in Washington, a Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute UK, and a member of the Advisory Board to the Money and Pensions Service - MaPS.

Helen was awarded a CBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for her services to saving.

In a further appointment, Gurmukh Hayre will join Helen as a trustee director board member of SLMTC from 1 April 2024, pending regulatory approval, while Rene Poisson will end his tenure as independent trustee director, after nine successful years in the role.

An accredited Professional Independent Trustee (PMI), ex KPMG partner and the Head of the DC Pensions practice, Gurmukh has wide reaching pension industry experience gained over many decades.

He currently holds a number of non-executive roles at Atos DC Retirement Plan, Cadbury Mondelēz Pension Fund and Centrica Pension Schemes. Until earlier this year, he was also an independent trustee of the National Pensions Trust for a number of years.

In the charity sector, Gurmukh is the Chair of Trustees of Molly Olly’s Wishes, a medium sized charity supporting children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Announcing the appointments, Gail Izat, Managing Director for Workplace at Standard Life said: “I am delighted to welcome Helen and Gurmukh to the SLMTC and to have secured the services of two candidates of such outstanding calibre. Helen is a visionary who has been at the forefront of revolutionising pension saving in this country for over two decades. Her focus on better outcomes for people and the social purpose of pensions closely aligns with our holistic view of financial engagement, education and wellbeing.

“Likewise, Gurmukh was a standout candidate, and members will benefit from his broad multi-industry experience in consultancy and insight gained as a professional independent trustee to some of the country’s best-known brands in Cadbury and Centrica.

“I’d also like to thank Richard and Rene for their dedication and efforts while serving on the SLMTC. Together they have been instrumental in building a strong framework to support the needs of scheme members and they leave us well positioned to face into the future.”

Helen Dean, said of her appointment as Chair of the Standard Life Master Trust Company Limited: “I look forward to taking up this role and using my broad range of experience to help facilitate greater financial inclusion and engagement among Standard Life’s master trust members, while upholding the principles of strong governance and consumer interest.”

Commenting on his appointment Gurmukh Hayre said: “I am pleased to join the SLMTC and represent the interests of scheme members, helping them achieve the best possible retirement outcomes in an ever-changing pensions landscape where DC pensions will be the main form of saving for most people.”


Sarah Muir
07870 397537

Darragh Leeson
Standard Life
07713 918949

Notes to editors:

The SLMTC Board members:

  • Richard Butcher, Chair (being replaced by Helen Dean CBE in May 2024)
  • Rene Poisson (tenure ending March 2024)
  • Catherine McKenna
  • Andrew Davies
  • Caroline Escott
  • Gurmukh Hayre (trustee board member from April 2024)

About Standard Life 

  • Standard Life is a brand that has been trusted to look after peoples’ life savings for nearly 200 years 
  • Today it proudly serves millions of customers who come to Standard Life directly, through advisers and through their employers’ pension scheme.
  • Standard Life is part of the Phoenix Group, the largest long-term savings and retirement business in the UK. We’re proud to be building on nearly 200 years of Standard Life heritage together
  • Our products include a variety of Pensions, Bonds and Retirement options to suit people’s needs, helping our customers to invest and save for their future. We’re proud to offer a leading range of sustainable and responsible investment options.
  • We support our customers on their journey to and through retirement with comprehensive, easy-to-understand guidance so they can invest in the right way for their needs, and plan a future they feel confident about.
  • The value of investments can go down as well as up, and may be worth less than originally invested.

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