New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief investment officer Matt Whineray will take over as acting chief executive when Adrian Orr leaves to take up his new role as governor of the Reserve Bank in March.

Last month, the fund said it aimed to replace Orr by mid-May and issued a tender document to find a recruitment agency to find that person.

Applications for the recruitment job "are still being reviewed", before a global search kicks off in an appointment process expected to "take a number of months", it said.

Whineray will start the acting CEO role from mid-March and general manager portfolio completion Mark Fennell will become acting chief investment officer for the duration of the recruitment process.

Advertisement

The new chief executive will oversee the $37.9 billion fund, which has had a 10.5 per cent average annual rate of return since inception, before tax and after costs, and a workforce of approximately 140 people, including 55 investment professionals.

While 86 per cent of the fund is invested globally, it has $5 billion invested in New Zealand.

Orr's total pay package was $1.22 million in the 2017 June year, up from $1.06m in 2016.

Orr has been a prominent personality on the New Zealand financial markets scene for more than 20 years.

He was chief economist at National Bank and then later Westpac, a deputy Reserve Bank Governor heading the economics team. He has been chief executive at the NZ Superannuation Fund for a decade.

Christina Leung, principal economist at NZIER, in December said: "Adrian Orr is more politically savvy than the recent governors, and more aligned with Labour ideology and policies."