Texas Teachers CIO joins Utimco

After more than a decade at the pension, which has $19bn of its assets in real estate, he will be replaced on an interim basis by deputy CIO Jerry Albright.

Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas for more than a decade, has left the pension plan and joined the University of Texas Investment Management Company, PERE's sister publication, Private Equity International, reported Friday.

Austin-based TRS had 12.3 percent of its $138 billion assets in private equity as of March 31.

Harris became CIO of TRS in November 2006 when he joined the pension fund, which at the time was valued at $100 billion. The value dropped to $67 billion during the financial crisis but has since bounced back.

Effective immediately, TRS deputy CIO Jerry Albright will serve as interim CIO. He is also chairman of the internal investment committee and sole director of TRICOT London, the first international office for the TRS pension fund.

Albright previously served as TRS investment division's chief operating officer and its director of investment operations.

TRS will discuss plans to permanently fill the position at its July meeting.

Prior to joining TRS, Harris served as chief executive officer of Bridgewater Associates. He's also worked as CIO and president of Verizon Investment Management Corporation.

During his tenure, Harris restructured and expanded TRS's investment division, implemented leading-edge portfolio management strategies, guided development of a new asset allocation policy and entered into a series of innovative strategic partnerships, TRS said in a statement.

In the last year, TRS's commitments to real estate included €50 million to Tristan Capital Partners' fourth value-added fund, $300 million to Blackstone's fifth European vehicle and $278 million to Lone Star's fifth opportunistic fund, according to PERE data.

Harris's successor will also have to focus on implementing TRS's plan for 2017 to implement the standardized fee reporting template created by the Institutional Limited Partners Association and private audit fee audits to check accuracy of fees, compliance with contracts and support for investment valuations.

In October, Mark Warner was voted unanimously as interim chief executive officer and CIO for UTIMCO after Bruce Zimmerman's decision to step down. Warner joined UTIMCO in 2007; he was the senior managing director who had broad responsibilities over several portfolios which includes emerging markets and private equity.

UTIMCO has 20.6 percent of its $35.9 billion assets under management in alternative assets, according to PEI.