Michael Williamson was named executive director of the $83.3 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, effective in June, confirmed Vicki Hearing, SWIB public information officer.
Keith Bozarth, who is retiring as executive director, plans to stay to assist with the transition until Mr. Williamson joins the system. Ms. Hearing said Mr. Williamson will start the first week of June; a specific date wasn't available.
Mr. Williamson is currently deputy director of organizational transformation and systems integration for the $5 billion District of Columbia Retirement Board, Washington. He joined the Washington system in January 2011. Previously, he served as director of the $71.8 billion North Carolina Retirement Systems, Raleigh, for nine years.
Also, Mr. Williamson worked in Madison for 15 years as policy adviser for Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus, assistant to the Chancellor Donna Shalala at the University of Wisconsin, and chief of staff for Madison Mayor Joe Sensenbrenner.
Currently, he also serves as chair of the board of the National Institute on Retirement Security, Washington, and past-president of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.
EFL Associates, an executive recruiting firm, conducted a nationwide search for SWIB candidates.
Mr. Bozarth, who became executive director of SWIB in 2007, announced his retirement plans in October.
Mr. Williamson said in an interview that the SWIB position “is an excellent opportunity. SWIB has a great national reputation. It does an excellent job of managing assets, and Madison is a great place to live.”
“My goal is to stay the course. SWIB does as good a job, if not better a job, of managing pension assets” as any organization in the country and he wants to maintain “that high standard. We will always look to improve.”
He said it is premature to say what changes he might consider.
Mr. Williamson said he has been involved in pension investments for 11 years, including overseeing a $4 billion 401(k) North Carolina state plan and serving as interim CIO of the North Carolina systems in 2010.
Mr. Williamson said his last day at the District of Columbia board will be April 27.
“At this time, DCRB has made no determination regarding a replacement” for Mr. Williamson, according to a District of Columbia board statement.
Eric O. Stanchfield, DC board executive director, couldn't be reached for comment.
Mr. Stanchfield was a trustee of SWIB from 1992 to 2007 during the time he was secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, heading the state body that oversees state retirement benefits. He left the Wisconsin department to become executive director of the DC board.