Mark J.P. Anson, CIO of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, will resign to become CEO of Hermes Pensions Management, said Brad Pacheco, spokesman at the $195.8 billion pension fund. Mr. Anson informed the CalPERS board of administration of his plans on Wednesday; he will leave CalPERS on Jan. 12.
Mr. Anson, who will relocate to London, will join Hermes on Jan. 25. He will succeed Tony Watson, who will stay to ensure a "smooth handover" before retiring at the end of January, according to a statement from Hermes.
"Mark did a spectacular job for us during some of the most difficult periods in our financial markets," Rob Feckner, president of CalPERS' board, said in a statement issued by the fund. Mr. Feckner did not return a call for further comment by press time.
"His leadership and investment foresight have been the driving force behind the success of our investment operations," Charles Valdes, chairman of CalPERS investment committee, said in a statement.
The pension fund's board will discuss steps to replace Mr. Anson at its Nov. 16 meeting, according to the CalPERS statement. "Generally, the board will give some direction to the CEO (Fred Buenrostro) as to what type of search they would like to do and usually begin the search immediately," Mr. Pacheco said. He did not immediately know if the board would retain an executive recruiting firm.
Mr. Anson joined CalPERS in October 1999 as senior principal investment officer for the system's domestic equity program. He was promoted nine months later to senior investment officer for equities and became CIO in December 2001. He is credited with being a strong advocate for finding investments that generate additional returns and for launching investment programs in hedge funds and enhanced index strategies.
"Kudos to Mark and all that he has done," said Ted White, a former CalPERS staffer who is now deputy executive director at the Council of Institutional Investors. "He will be missed."
Hermes had about £58 billion ($103.4 billion) in assets under management as of Sept. 30.