Yu Ben Meng is returning to CalPERS as chief investment officer at a turbulent time.
The CEO who hired him, Marcie Frost, is embroiled in a controversy over potential misrepresentations about a college degree. And 25 investment staff positions need to be filled, including the heads of private equity and fixed income.
Mr. Meng is now deputy chief investment officer of China's $3.2 trillion State Administration of Foreign Exchange. His start date at the $360 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, has yet to be determined.
Mr. Meng, who will start at a salary of $707,500 with an incentive range of zero to 150%, could not be reached for comment.
The 48-year-old, who served as senior portfolio manager in asset allocation at CalPERS before he left to join SAFE in 2015, will replace CIO Theodore Eliopoulos, who will leave at the end of the year for family reasons.
His hiring was announced on Sept. 24 during an investment committee meeting.
Two days later — after the board decided to give Ms. Frost a 4% raise to $330,720 for fiscal year 2019 and a 26.7% bonus for fiscal year 2018 — state Treasurer John Chiang, a board member, called for an independent third-party review of the CEO. Mr. Chiang voted in favor of the pay raise and bonus.
The controversy centers on allegations raised in earlier published reports that Ms. Frost made misleading statements that she was pursuing dual degrees in administration when she was hired two years ago.
Board President Priya Mathur on Sept. 26 released a statement that a review was unnecessary and voiced support for Ms. Frost.
Board members, meanwhile, are standing firmly behind Ms. Frost, and said they support Mr. Meng's hiring.