Tennessee Pension’s Private Equity Chief To Step Down

The $37 billion Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System will soon be looking for a new director of private equity. The pension’s current director, Lamar Villere, told Buyouts, peHUB’s sister magazine, that he plans to step down from TCRS at the end of June to become a portfolio manager at Villere & Co., his family’s New Orleans-based money management firm.

Villere, who reports to Michael Brakebill, TCRS’s chief investment officer, is the pension’s first director of private equity: He was appointed to the role in 2009, a year after Tennessee’s legislature moved to allow the pension system to invest in private equity and other alternatives.

“It was fortunate to start our [private equity] program when we did,” said Villere. “We were putting money in when everyone else was pulling away from the asset class.”

TCRS has a 3 percent target allocation to private equity, although the cap is 10 percent. The system recently reached the $1 billion commitment mark, and so far has about $200 million in invested private equity capital, according to Villere.

On an interim basis, Villere will be replaced by Daniel Crews, a private equity analyst at TCRS. So far, TCRS has not formally launched a search for a permanent replacement.

Villere & Co., where Lamar Villere will be an investment manager, oversees $2 billion in assets, mostly stocks and bonds, for high-net-worth investors and institutions. It does not invest in private equity or other alternatives.

“It will be tough to leave here,” said Villere, referring to TCRS. “It’s a great group of folks, and it’s a fun and rewarding job. I’ll also miss seeing the portfolio grow. We planted a bunch of oak trees, and now I’m leaving.”

Villere came to TCRS from the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, where he was a senior investment officer for four years and helped to manage both its private equity and hedge funds portfolios.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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.