Thomas Spencer, executive director of Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System, announced plans to retire July 1.
The board of the $20.6 billion pension fund plans to initiate a search for an executive search firm to find his replacement and hopes to select that firm at its next meeting March 31, Mr. Spencer said Friday in an email.
At a board meeting Wednesday, the fund approved a request for proposal from qualified firms to provide nationwide executive search services. Proposals are due March 24.
Mr. Spencer joined Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System as executive director in November 2014 after his predecessor was let go by the board in October 2013, Mr. Spencer said.
Prior to joining Oklahoma Teachers, he was executive director at Oklahoma Public Employees’ Retirement System, a role he held for more than 11 years.
From April 2014 to November 2014, Mr. Spencer worked for both Oklahoma Teachers and OPERS as the boards of the two pension funds entered into a contract to share his services.
Mr. Spencer said that though he didn’t want to take full credit, both funds have much higher funded ratios now than when he started.
“I am immensely proud to have been given the opportunity to help public employees and teachers achieve some retirement income security over the last 18 years,” he said. “I tried to fight for making the pension systems more secure by advocating against unfunded benefit increases and ensuring the pension funds were adequately funded.”
Mr. Spencer’s decision to retire comes as he approaches his 65th birthday. “It seemed like the right time,” he said, adding that his wife, siblings and many of his good friends have all retired.