Rick Smirl was named executive director of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, spokeswoman Vicki Hearing said in an email.
Mr. Smirl will replace Michael Williamson, who announced in June his plans to retire at the end of 2017. Mr. Williamson, who has been executive director since June 2012, will stay on through the transition, which a SWIB news release said will take place in January 2018.
Mr. Smirl is currently a partner and chief operating officer at William Blair Investment Management. Spokesman Tony Zimmer said Mr. Smirl will remain with William Blair through mid-January, and that the company will not be replacing him directly. Mr. Zimmer said the firm would restructure some of his duties to two new positions, which will also have other, separate responsibilities as well. Effective immediately, Lisa Rusch, senior manager, is being promoted to the new position of director of operations and Kristina Blaschek, also a senior manager, to the new position of director of business and technology solutions.
State of Wisconsin Investment Board manages $115.8 billion in assets, including the $105.5 billion Wisconsin Retirement System.