Leadership Is Changing at Texas Teachers, Washington State Investment Board

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is losing its CIO; WSIB just named a new one.

Jerry Albright, Texas Teachers CIO. (courtesy photo)

Jerry Albright, Texas Teachers CIO.

(courtesy photo)

Senior leadership changes are underway at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Washington State Investment Board, which together represent almost $300 billion in pension assets.

The chief investment officer of the $157.4 billion Texas Teachers fund, Jerry Albright, plans to step down from the role, according to a source familiar with the matter. Washington State Investment Board announced November 21 that Allyson Tucker will replace CIO Gary Bruebaker, who earlier this year said he would retire after 19 years as chief investment officer.

News that Albright was stepping down was first reported by Bloomberg Law on November 21.

Albright took over as CIO in 2017 after the Texan pension fund’s long-time chief Britt Harris left for the University of Texas endowment. While Albright’s departure has not been announced by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the fund’s board is planning to discuss the succession plan for CIO at its December board meeting, according to an emailed statement from fund spokesperson Rob Maxwell.

“Teacher Retirement System of Texas has in place a plan designed to ensure continuity of high quality leadership for its investment management division and other key positions at TRS,” Maxwell said. “At this time, TRS is unable to provide further details on the exact timing of potential changes to the IMD succession plan since those details are subject to board deliberation and decision.”

According to the statement, Albright was involved in designing the succession plan, which Texas Teachers put into place “around the time of the unexpected departure” of Harris. The agenda for the board meeting, which will take place on December 12 and 13, is expected to be released online on December 4.

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Meanwhile, Washington State Investment Board said Tucker, the $140 billion pension fund’s head of risk management and asset allocation, will become CIO on January 1. Tucker has worked at WSIB since 2009, when she joined as an assistant senior investment officer focused on public equities. Previously, she worked for Bill and Melinda Gates Investments, the asset manager for the Gates family’s foundation and personal assets.

WSIB said that the decision was the result of “nearly a year-long nationwide recruiting effort.”

“We looked carefully at well-qualified and compelling people for this job, and I’m thrilled that Allyson emerged as our top choice amid a very competitive field,” executive director Theresa Whitmarsh said in the statement. “She has the vision, energy, experience, and intelligence to fill some big shoes being left by Gary Bruebaker, and we are doubly fortunate that she is a familiar and respected professional with our board members, staff, and industry peers.”