CalPERS CIO Russell Read will step down June 30 to pursue his longstanding interest in environmental and clean-tech investing, according to a news release issued this afternoon by the California Public Employees Retirement System, Sacramento. Mr. Read did not elaborate to CalPERS about his plans, said spokesman Brad Pacheco. The CalPERS board will meet soon to discuss Mr. Reads replacement, according to the release. Mr. Read was not immediately available for comment.
We wish Russell well in the next chapter of his professional career, George Diehr, chairman of CalPERS investment committee, said in the release. He has great enthusiasm for environmental and clean technology investments and we look forward to hearing about his future endeavors in sustainability investments as that sector grows in the capital markets.
Mr. Read is the second high-level official to leave CalPERS this year. In February, Christianna Wood left her post as senior investment officer and head of CalPERS global equity portfolio to become CEO of Capital Z Asset Management, a hedge fund incubator.
Mr. Read joined the pension fund in June 2006 and under his watch, CalPERS grew to $240.1 billion from $208.3 billion. In December 2007, Mr. Read spearheaded the most radical shift in the pension funds asset allocation in the past 10 years, raising its private equity and real estate allocations and putting half of its total investment portfolio into international markets. The system also created an inflation-linked asset class that includes investments in commodities, infrastructure, timber and inflation-linked bonds.
Mr. Read also pushed for more green-friendly investments. CalPERS new forest policy, approved in March, allows managers to invest in the nascent carbon markets and cellulosic ethanol, a biofuel under development.