Top Execs Will Leave Calpers

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California's state pension fund lost its chief executive and its investment chief in the space of a week.

The $245 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) confirmed Monday that Fred Buenrostro will retire as CEO in order to pursue unspecified "lucrative opportunities in the private sector." Last week, the fund announced Russell Read would depart as chief investment officer on June 30 to pursue a long-standing interest in environmental and clean technology investing.

Timing of Buenrostro's departure is still being worked out. He was appointed CEO in 2002. Read joined Calpers in June 2006 after serving as deputy chief investment officer for Deutsche Asset Management and its subsidiary, Scudder Investments.

For the chief investment officer slot, Anne Stausboll was named to replace Read on an interim basis. She also filled in during 2006 after the previous CIO, Mark Anson, left to become chief executive of Hermes, a UK-based institutional asset manager. Calpers is expected to hire a search firm to find a new CIO, a process that could take several months.

Calpers is also searching for a new senior investment officer to oversee its $150 billion equities portfolio. Christina Wood left in January to join Capital Z Asset Management, a hedge fund.

In a statement, Calpers said media reports that "raise a specter of controversy" between Buenrostro and the board "are exaggerated." It added, "We are progressing well in our search regarding the Senior Investment Officer for Global Equity. We have designated the very experienced and talented Anne Stausboll as Interim CIO, and the transition is going smoothly with our Chief Investment Officer. And we are putting the building blocks in place for a search for the new CIO."

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