Oregon Taps Skjervem As New CIO

After a year-long search, Oregon’s Treasury named John Skjervem as the chief investment officer for the state’s main pension funds, which collectively manage $74 billion in assets. Skjervem replaces Ronald Schmitz, who announced last September that he was leaving to be the chief investment officer for the $53 billion Virginia Retirement System. Skjervem plans to start on Nov. 1.

Upon leaving, Schmitz told Buyouts that compensation factored into his decision, saying that “Oregon is a bit below the mean and Virginia’s offer is a nice step up.” At Virginia, Schmitz has had the potential to earn nearly $900,000, including incentive bonuses, while his Oregon base salary was $265,512, with a 30 percent bonus potential.

Skjervem’s base salary will be $350,000, plus the chance to earn a 30 percent bonus. That is 32 higher than Schmitz’s base salary.

Skjervem is the western regional chief investment officer for the Northern Trust Corp., the Chicago-based bank. There, he has been the chairman of the firm’s investment advisory committee and also designed a firm-wide system for assembling portfolios and allocating assets in those portfolios. He has been with the firm since 1991.

Ted Wheeler, the Oregon treasurer, said in a statement: “John Skjervem is the right leader at the right time to oversee Oregon’s vital investment operations. Oregon has a well-deserved reputation as a leader among institutional investors, and we believe John has the business acumen to and management savvy to keep us on the right path.”

Oregon’s main pension vehicle, the $58 billion Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement Fund, has 25 percent, or $14.2 billion, of its assets in invested private equity capital, well above the fund’s 16 percent target.

The Oregon Investment Council, a department of the state treasury overseeing pension management, has 14 investment officers, plus support staff.

Photo credit: Oregon Investment Council.

Gregory Roth is a senior editor at Buyouts Magazine. Any opinions expressed here are entirely his own. Follow him on Twitter @RothReuters. Follow Buyouts tweets @Buyouts.