Illinois TRS Names Private Equity Chief

Zak Doehla has been named chief alternatives investments officer for the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois. He previously was an associate director of Orix USA Corp. He succeeds Lamar Villere, who recently left to run private equity for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.


The $30 billion Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) has selected Zachary “Zak” Doehla to serve as the System’s alternative investments officer. Mr.  Doehla (pronounced Day’luh) will oversee the private equity portfolio for TRS.

Doehla has extensive experience in the private equity arena, previously serving as associate director at Orix USA Corporation, director at Bridge Finance Group, and senior financial consultant at Manor Care, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration from Ohio State University.

“Zak’s expertise in corporate finance, leveraged buyouts and distressed debt portfolio management will clearly benefit the private equity program at TRS,” said Stan Rupnik, TRS acting executive director and chief investment officer.

A new asset allocation approved this May increased the long-term target for private equity from 8 percent to 10 percent of the total fund. TRS has been investing in private equity since 1983 and the asset class has consistently produced double-digit returns over the three-, five-, and ten-year reporting periods. Preliminary results show TRS had $2.5 billion invested in private equity as of May 31, 2009, or about 8 percent of the total fund.

Doehla will begin his position at TRS on August 17, 2009. The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois provides retirement, disability, and death benefits to teachers and administrators employed at Illinois public elementary and secondary schools located outside the city of Chicago. It serves 355,584 members.