Curtis Howard was named assistant executive officer, administrative services branch, for the $182.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento. He will oversee divisions responsible for accounting and budget, personnel, office support and strategic planning and management analysis. Mr. Howard was chief of CalPERS' office of employer and member health services. He replaces Robert Walton, who has taken the lead in California's debate on whether to continue defined benefit plans for new workers or switch to defined contributions, as urged by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Further information was not available.