CalPERS CIO Dear back to work full time

Joe Dear, the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System who was sidelined earlier this year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, has returned to work, a CalPERS spokesperson told me.

Dear had taken a step back from his leadership role at the biggest pension system in the U.S., the system confirmed in June, though he continued to work from home, a spokesperson said at the time.

CalPERS senior investment officer for real assets Theodore Eliopoulos stepped in as acting CIO. Eliopoulos has now returned to his normal role of leading the system’s real estate, as well as forestland and infrastructure investment groups, the spokesperson said.

Dear joined CalPERS in 2009 from the Washington State Investment Board, where he had worked as executive director since 2002. He joined the California system amid some of the biggest losses the system ever experienced in the wake of the global financial crisis, with total assets sinking to $164.7 billion in the depths of 2009.

Under Dear’s leadership (and along with rises in the broader markets), the system’s total assets have grown, reaching $274.6 billion as of Dec. 12, according to the system’s website.

But Dear also found himself having to tackle ethical issues that came to light amid a nation-wide public pension pay-to-play scandal that rocked some of the biggest public systems in the U.S., including those in New York, New Mexico and California.

Since that time, CalPERS has restructured relationships with certain investment managers, changed the way investment managers interact with investment staff and enhanced rules around investment staff travel and gifts, among other changes.

Photo credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser