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CalPERS picks insider Anne Stausboll for CEO post

December 17, 2008 |  6:15 pm

CalPERS, the giant state public pension fund reeling from investment losses, today picked one of its own to fill the chief executive job.

Anne Stausboll, 52, was named by the fund’s board to replace Fred Buenrostro, who retired in June. She will become the first female CEO in the 77-year-old fund’s history.

Stausboll has been serving as interim chief investment officer of the $182-billion fund, replacing Russell Read, who left at midyear.

Annestausboll CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, provides retirement and health benefits to more than 1.6 million state and local public employees and their families.

The fund, the nation’s largest public pension plan, has seen its assets plunge 24% since June 30 with the meltdown in financial markets. If CalPERS can't recoup the losses in the next few years, it could demand that the state and its municipalities raise their contributions to the fund, to sustain workers' benefits.

Although nearly all large pension funds have been slammed by the markets’ dive, CalPERS has been hit hard by losses on the extensive real estate investments it made in recent years -- a diversification move intended to offset some of the risks involved in stocks and bonds.

CalPERS declined to say how many candidates were vying for its top job.

Stausboll, who has a law degree from UC Davis, joined CalPERS’ legal office in 1994. She left in 1999 to become general counsel for then-State Treasurer Phil Angelides, and was later appointed chief deputy treasurer.

She rejoined CalPERS four years ago as chief investment operating officer, a job that included oversight of the search process for the outside managers hired to help invest the fund’s billions.

A CalPERS spokesman in Sacramento said he wasn’t sure what Stausboll would earn as CEO, but that the job's annual salary range previously set by the fund’s board was $224,000 to $336,000. She also will be eligible for an annual bonus worth up to 40% of her base pay.

The fund still is searching for a new chief investment officer.

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: Anne Stausboll (CalPERS photo)