CalPERS Names New Chief Investment Officer

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Joseph Dear as its next chief investment officer. He has spent the past six years as executive director of the Washington State Investment Board.


SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced that Joseph A. Dear, currently Executive Director of the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) and Chairman of the Council of Institutional Investors has been named Chief Investment Officer of the $178 billion pension fund.

“Mr. Dear has more than 20 years experience managing large governmental bodies, and in particular under his leadership over the last six years, Washington State Investment Board has had good results and been exceptionally well managed,” said Rob Feckner, President of the CalPERS Board of Administration.

“He was our unanimous choice to serve our Board, and I am confident he will do an exceptional job as Chief Investment Officer. We look forward to working with him,” Feckner added.

Dear will oversee more than 220 investment professionals and support staff and a diversified portfolio that includes stocks, fixed income, private equity, real estate and inflation-linked assets.

The CIO works closely with the Board of Administration in setting investment strategy, establishing the fund’s asset allocation and overseeing the fund’s external managers.

He will assume his new role in March.

“I am tremendously excited by the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to working for the Board of Administration and joining the highly capable CalPERS investment team,” Dear said.

Dear has held his post as Executive Director of WSIB since 2002.  Dear has led nearly 80 staff, including 23 investment professionals overseeing management of $67 billion and 39 funds. WSIB invests in similar asset classes to CalPERS and uses both passive and active management strategies.  He was named Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors last year.

Dear is a veteran public administrator. Prior to his current pension fund job, he worked for a year for Frank Russell Company, in Tacoma, Washington as its Government Relations Officer. From 1997 to 2001, he was Chief of Staff for Governor Gary Locke of Washington State. From 1993 to 1997, he was Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health for the U.S. Department of Labor after a six year stint in a similar capacity in Washington State, where he was Director from 1987 to 1993 of the State Department of Labor and Industries.  He is a graduate of Evergreen State College, where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in political economy.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Dear as we move forward to respond to the current market conditions, position ourselves for a future market recovery and work on strategies that will maximize returns, minimize employer contributions and safeguard retirement security for our members,” said George Diehr, Chair of the CalPERS Investment Committee.

The search process for the new CalPERS CIO was organized by the CalPERS Human Resources Office and the recruitment was led by Ridgeway Partners, a world leader in recruiting top managers.

The nation’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million state and local government employees and their families and health benefits to 1.3 million public servants and their families.

Editor’s Note: A photo of Mr. Dear is available by emailing the CalPERS press room.