Pension Funds

Michelle Cunningham, CalSTRS deputy CIO, is retiring

Michelle Cunningham, deputy chief investment officer for the California State Teachers' Retirement System, is retiring, the $208.7 billion plan announced Thursday.

Ms. Cunningham will work through the end of the year, said CalSTRS spokeswoman Michelle Mussuto in an email. Chief Investment Officer Christopher Ailman will name an internal candidate as an interim replacement for Ms. Cunningham in the fall.

Ms. Mussuto said a search for a permanent replacement will need to go through a mandated hiring process set by the California State Personnel Board.

Ms. Cunningham was the first internal investment officer hired by CalSTRS, according to a news release announcing her retirement.

"Prior to hiring Ms. Cunningham, all of the investment staff, including the chief investment officer and asset class directors, were external contractors," the release states. Ms. Cunningham joined CalSTRS in 1991 when its investment portfolio was valued at $35 billion. She worked initially as a fixed-income investment officer.

Mr. Ailman said in the release that despite Ms. Cunningham's "soft-spoken, humble demeanor she's a commanding force to reckon with; this combination of traits defined her leadership style."

Ms. Cunningham became director of fixed income in 1997 and was named deputy CIO in 2012.