Gregory W. Smith, executive director of the $48 billion Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association, Denver, died suddenly Tuesday.
Mr. Smith was vacationing in Hawaii with his family and friends, a spokeswoman for the retirement association said. He was 56. The cause of death has not been determined.
Mr. Smith joined PERA as general counsel in February 2002 and took on the additional role of chief operating office in 2009. He was appointed executive director in November 2012.
Before joining PERA, Mr. Smith served as the retirement association's private-sector legal counsel.
"Greg was renowned for his extensive knowledge of the public pension industry and his passion for ensuring the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of Colorado's public employees," PERA said in a news release Wednesday. "Throughout his career, Greg served on national industry boards, including the National Institute on Retirement Security, the Council of Institutional Investors, the National Council on Teacher Retirement and the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys."
Timothy M. O'Brien, PERA's board chairman, added in the release: "Colorado PERA and its membership have lost a true leader and dedicated servant to the public workforce. Those who knew Greg knew he loved his family, was a proud fourth-generation Coloradan, and was fully dedicated to PERA and its members."
The retirement association's board of trustees and executive team plan to announce an acting executive director soon.
Daily operations are being handled by the executive team and six chief officers.
Memorial arrangements are being planned and information will be posted on PERA's website.