CalPERS officials are in the midst of interviewing CIO candidates to replace former CIO Yu “Ben” Meng and expect to name a replacement in the first quarter, according to CEO Marcie Frost.
Two interview panels that each include three board members and staff, including Ms. Frost, have been interviewing candidates since December. The CEO and board share responsibility for hiring a CIO for the fund.
The interview process set by the board in October consists of two rounds of interviews as well as an opportunity for the full board to meet the final candidate. The anticipated timeline indicated that a finalist would be introduced to the board in January or February. So far, the two interview panels held a joint meeting on Jan. 15 and the first round subcommittee held additional interviews on Jan. 21.
In an interview Jan. 14, Ms. Frost said that the Jan. 15 joint meeting of the two interview panels was set up to review candidates and select candidates the committees wished to conduct additional reference checks on. The panels are expected to hold interviews over the following week to 10 days, she said. No further information is available on how many more days of interviews are planned or when the next round will be, spokeswoman Megan White said Friday in an email.
In the interview, Ms. Frost said that California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, is looking for a candidate who is a strong investor, who has managed a portfolio of similar magnitude as CalPERS’ $444.5 billion portfolio with a track-record that demonstrates the person can do the job well. The candidate also needs to have strong leadership skills to lead a large investment office and be able to run a system in the public eye.
Ms. Frost declined to provide the number of applicants, but said, “I would not say the candidate pool is large.”
The finalist would replace Mr. Meng who resigned in August amid controversy over personal investments revealed in a statement of economic interest form that Mr. Meng filed with CalPERS. The form showed that he had invested in stocks of three private equity firms, Carlyle Group, Blackstone Group and Ares Management’s business development company, Ares Capital Corp.
Also, in August, the enforcement division of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, a state watchdog, launched an investigation into two complaints filed against Mr. Meng, claiming he failed to properly disclose certain personal investments and sales of stocks and other holdings.
Mr. Meng’s case remains an ongoing investigation and an open case, Jay Wierenga, communications director for California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, said Friday in an email.