CalPERS CIO Joe Dear dies

Joe Dear
Joe Dear

Joseph A. Dear, chief investment officer of CalPERS, has died, system spokesman Brad Pacheco confirmed Wednesday.

In January, Mr. Dear took medical leave from the $282.5 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, to continue treatment for prostate cancer. It was his second leave in seven months.

Mr. Dear was executive director of the Washington State Investment Board, Olympia, when he joined CalPERS in 2009, charged with helping the largest U.S. defined benefit plan recover from the financial meltdown.

Mr. Dear, 62, implemented new investment risk controls and supervised the ongoing restructuring of the real estate and private equity portfolios.

The pension fund's assets also grew by almost $100 billion during his tenure.

In a statement to Pensions & Investments in January, Mr. Dear said he anticipated returning to the pension fund after his medical leave was over.

Acting CIO Ted Eliopoulos will continue in his role until the CalPERS board makes a decision about a search for a new CIO, according to a news release from the fund. In an interview, CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll said board members and the executive staff are expected to discuss the mechanics of a search during meetings scheduled March 17-19.

Ms. Stausboll said Mr. Dear was a strong, high-energy leader who never lost his humbleness.

Many members of CalPERS' 400-person investment office remembered Mr. Dear at an informal gathering Thursday morning at CalPERS headquarters, Ms. Stausboll said.

Mr. Dear had a wide background working for government entities. He had served as the chief of staff for former Washington Gov. Gary Locke and was assistant secretary of labor at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had served in the Clinton administration.

Funeral arrangements are pending. The news release stated that there will be services in Sacramento and Olympia.

Mr. Dear is survived by his wife, Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at the $176.2 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento. He has two children, Annie and Ben, from a previous marriage.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to the Joseph A. Dear Memorial Scholarship Endowment at The Evergreen State College Foundation.