Sarah Corbett was named executive director of the $29.9 billion South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, Columbia, on Tuesday.
The position is new, one of the first recommendations to be implemented from a fiduciary audit report from Funston Advisory Services, which was released last month. Ms. Corbett has worked at the investment commission and retirement system for 15 years, most recently in a dual role as director of operations and operational due diligence director.
The commission approved the establishment of the executive director position, according to a webcast of the meeting, and retired into executive session to discuss personnel, compensation and legal matters.
The role of chief operational officer, now held by former state Sen. W. Greg Ryberg, was eliminated by the governance change approved Tuesday. The COO's duties overlap with and will be handled by the executive director, said Rebecca H. Gunnlaugsson, commissioner, according to the webcast. Ms. Gunlaugsson chairs the ad hoc planning committee handling implementation of the recommendations of the audit report.
After resuming its open meeting, the commission approved a motion by Reynolds Williams, the commission's chairman, to promote Ms. Corbett to executive director.
Mr. Reynolds noted that Ms. Corbett and Hershel Harper Jr., RSIC's chief investment officer, “together have the demonstrated ability to function very effectively as a team,” according to the webcast.
The State Retirees Association of South Carolina, Columbia, supports the commission's decision to create the executive director's position and to hire Ms. Corbett, said Wayne Pruitt, board member and treasurer of the association, in an interview.
“There was criticism from some commissioners because the board didn't conduct a national search for an executive director,” Mr. Pruitt said.
“Hiring a local person makes a lot more sense. Sarah comes from the inside and she knows everything about the commission. She knows what she's walking into and I have no doubt that she will do an excellent job,” Mr. Pruitt added.
Mr. Pruitt noted that Darry Oliver, who was recruited via a national search and moved to South Carolina from New Jersey to fill the COO position in February 2013, resigned Oct. 11 of that year for reasons that were not made public.
Ms. Gunlaugsson said in an interview that one of Ms. Corbett's first duties as executive director will be to evaluate her two previous roles and assess how best to fill them.