Updated with correction
CalPERS' new chief investment officer, Theodore “Ted” Eliopoulos, is a politically savvy insider who built his reputation not from investment expertise but from knowing the power corridors of Sacramento and allying himself with a powerful real estate developer.
The board of the $298 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, chose Mr. Eliopoulos on Sept. 17 to lead the 400-person investment office over outside candidates with more investment experience.
In picking Mr. Eliopoulos, board members chose someone familiar, someone they had already picked to serve as interim CIO of the nation's largest defined benefit plan in February, following the illness and then death of CIO Joseph Dear.
Other finalists included Dennis Johnson, senior vice president and chief market strategist for Comerica Asset Management, and Seema Hingorani, former interim CIO of the $150 billion New York City Retirement Systems, sources said, adding both have vast investment experience. Mr. Johnson had been a senior portfolio manager for corporate governance at CalPERS; he left in 2008.
One person interested in the job was former CalPERS CIO Mark Anson, who left in 2006, one source said. The source said Mr. Anson was not seriously considered because of opposition from CalPERS board President Rob Feckner.
Mr. Anson runs the family office for the Bass family and is managing partner and chief of the investment committee at Oak Hill Investment Management in Menlo Park, Calif., a private equity manager. The firm is backed by the Bass family.