CalPERS appoints first female CEO

CalPERS veteran Anne Stausboll will lead the US’ largest public pension plan and influential private equity investor. The pension is still searching for a CIO following the departure of Russel Read earlier this year.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the US pension plan with assets totalling $182 billion, has appointed Anne Stausboll to the role of chief executive officer. She will be the first female CEO in the firm’s 77-year history.

She has been acting as interim investment officer since former CIO Russell Read resigned earlier this year to pursue cleantech investing. His departure was followed shortly by the pension’s former CEO, Fred Buenrostro, who also left to pursue investments in the private sector.

Anne Stausboll

Stausboll is a CalPERS veteran, having worked in the pension’s legal department from1994 and 1999. She left in 1999 to become general counsel for California state treasurer Phil Angelides, then returned to CalPERS in 2004 to become the system’s chief investment operating officer.

“Stausboll is a stellar public servant and natural leader for our fund. Her leadership and government policy experience in all facets of her career will serve our members, employers, and staff very well,” Feckner said in a statement.

Ken Marzion, who has been acting as the interim CEO since Buenrostro’s retirement, will hand over management of 2,300 employees and a budget of more than $332 million to Stausboll on 12 January 2009. He has been praised by CalPERS president Rob Feckner for his interim leadership.

CalPERS is currently struggling with the denominator effect. As of 31 October, CalPERS’ actual allocation to its alternatives programme stood at 13.8 percent, well above its policy target of 9.5 percent. There has been recent speculation that the firm is considering temporarily increasing its target allocation range to private equity and real estate in an attempt to combat an increasingly overweighted alternatives portfolio.