Texas Teachers picks next RE and PE heads

The $110 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas is set to promote Eric Lang to run real estate and Rich Hall to lead private equity investments when Steve LeBlanc, senior managing director of external private markets, steps aside in June.

The $110 billion Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas has promoted Eric Lang to run its real estate activities and Rich Hall to lead its private equity investments, according to the man they will replace – Steve LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who is stepping down in June as senior managing director of external private markets after four years with TRS, gave the news at the PERE Global Investor Forum in Los Angeles last week during an on-stage interview to explain 'The Texas Way', which denotes TRS’ style and method of investing in real estate and private equity involving a premier list of managers. The private markets team has invested nearly $20 billion in 90 investments around the globe since LeBlanc joined in September 2008.

Lang and Hall currently are managing directors of private markets at the pension fund, which represents some 1.3 million Texans. Hall joined in 2008 having focused on mergers and acquisitions at the real estate investment banking group at Banc of America Securities and became responsible for TRS’ private equity and principal investments group, which makes direct investments into private equity and real estate opportunities alongside TRS' managers. Up until now, he has been reporting into LeBlanc. Lang has been at TRS longer, having joined in 2006 and has been responsible for real assets, also reporting to LeBlanc.

Speaking to delegates, LeBlanc – who is a 27-year veteran of real estate – also confirmed he was returning to the private sector to start a real estate company, most likely in Austin where he is currently based.

Upon the announcement of LeBlanc’s departure on April 10, TRS chief investment officer Britt Harris said:  “When a man as accomplished as Steve LeBlanc agreed to join us in the investment management division, I was very grateful and honored. At that time, Steve and I set out a five-year plan to greatly contribute to the long-term investment results for the TRS portfolio. The results of this highly successful program speak for themselves.”

TRS added in its announcement that LeBlanc would continue in his position through early June and would facilitate transitional planning. The investment management division would consider options and develop proposed organizational changes to be discussed with the TRS board at its April 19-20 meeting, it added.