Eva Scheerlinck will take on the role of acting chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees following the departure of Tom Garcia next week, the AIST board has said.

Garcia announced his impending departure on December 16, 2016. He will stay in the not-for-profit super sector, joining the country’s biggest industry fund, AustralianSuper, as head of product.

Scheerlinck – who has served in the role of AIST executive manager, governance and stewardship, since 2010 – will commence her new role when Garcia departs on March 10.

AIST’s board, led by president David Smith, stated that Scheerlinck’s appointment would bring “stability and leadership to AIST while the search for a new CEO continues”.

“Applications for the CEO position closed last Friday and interviews for the role have now begun,” the board’s statement read.

AIST represents the trustees from the industry, government and corporate super fund sectors, which are responsible for roughly $700 billion in compulsory retirement savings.

Whoever replaces Garcia will inherit a full workload; the not-for-profit super sector is grappling with a raft of regulatory changes and other challenges.

In February, AIST released a draft governance code designed to help lift the quality of directors appointed as trustees of not-for-profit super funds, while entrenching the sector’s “equal representation” board model. The peak body continues to rail against the government’s push to force all super funds to appoint a minimum of one-third independent directors, including an independent chair.

AIST is also heavily involved in the Insurance in Superannuation Industry Working Group, which has committed to producing a binding code of conduct by the end of 2017.

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