Pension Funds

Wisconsin executive director departs for Russell Investments

Rick Smirl, executive director of the $117 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, has left to join Russell Investments as chief operating officer, said Vicki Hearing, SWIB spokeswoman.

Mr. Smirl will join Russell on July 30, overseeing the money manager's "operations, technology, legal, compliance, risk management, internal audit and government and community relations teams," a Russell news release said. He will report to Michelle Seitz, chairman and CEO.

Ms. Hearing said Rochelle Klaskin, chief legal counsel, has been named SWIB's acting executive director and the board immediately will begin the process of the search for a replacement.

Mr. Smirl joined SWIB in January, replacing Michael Williamson, who retired at the end of 2017. Before joining SWIB, Mr. Smirl had been partner and chief operating officer at William Blair Investment Management, where he reported to Ms. Seitz, who was William Blair's head of investment management until she joined Russell as CEO in September 2017.

At Russell, Mr. Swirl will take on a chief operating officer position that had previously been eliminated in January 2017 when then-COO Ian Battye was named chief administrative officer, said a Russell spokesman. Vernon Barback, Russell's president, has been handling the duties for the past 18 months that Mr. Smirl will take on.