CalPERS Names Deputy Exec of Operations

Stephen Kessler has joined the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) as deputy executive office of operations. He previously served in a similar position with the California Department of Public Health.


Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), today announced the appointment of Stephen W. Kessler to the position of Deputy Executive Officer of Operations and Kathleen Hamilton to the position of Deputy Executive Officer of Benefits.

“Stephen and Kathleen have broad and deep experience as administrators of large government agencies,” said Stausboll.  “I’m confident that their contributions to our organization will go far in protecting the long-term financial security and health care of our members, while helping to minimize the cost of health care and pensions to our employers.”

Kessler will oversee CalPERS support and operational functions, advising the Board on policy and administration, including human resources, fiscal planning and budgeting, system strategic management, information technology, and facilities management.

Kessler comes from the California Department of Public Health, where he serves as Chief Deputy Director, Operations.  He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department, which has 3,400 employees and a budget of more than $3.3 billion. Recently, he served four years as the Chief Operating Officer for the California Department of Finance.

He has more than 28 years experience in State government, including more than 20 years in senior level positions related to agency operations and administration.

Kessler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Finance from the California State University, Sacramento and a Master of Business Administration – Management degree from Golden Gate University, Sacramento.

Hamilton will provide executive leadership for the Pension Fund’s retirement programs which serve 1.6 million active and retired State and local public employees.  She will also have executive oversight of CalPERS health care program that pays more than $5 billion annually for health care services on behalf of 1.3 million members and their families.

She is a 25-year veteran of State government and will advise the Board and work directly with CalPERS Assistant Executive Officers on the strategic direction of our health benefit programs, including health plan negotiations, health plan design. In the area of retirement, she will have executive oversight responsibility for retirement policy, programs and customer service.

Hamilton joins CalPERS from California Assembly member Dave Jones’ office where she has served as Legislative Director. Her previous leadership positions include Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Deputy Chief of Staff for Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis, Executive Director of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, Staff Director of the California State Senate Democratic Caucus, and Acting Director of the State Commission on Women.

The Deputy Executive Officers will begin their new jobs on July 1.

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with assets totaling more than $180 billion.  For more on CalPERS, visit