CIO of CalPERS Will Step Down in Two Weeks

Nicole Musicco became head of America’s largest pension fund in February 2022.

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Nicole Musicco, the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, is leaving America’s largest pension fund at the end of the month. Her last day will be Sept. 29.

Musicco, who replaced Ben Meng as CIO in February 2022, is leaving CalPERS to serve the immediate needs of family in her native home Toronto. She had been traveling frequently to and from Toronto and Sacramento, California during recent weeks to help members of her large, multigenerational family, the pension plan said in a statement about her departure.

“Leading the CalPERS investment office has been an honor, and I am proud of the work my team has done to fulfill the retirement promises made to the two million Californians who have spent their lives in public service. However, at this time I need to prioritize those who need me the most, my family and children,” Musicco said.

CalPERS Deputy CIO Dan Bienvenue will serve as interim leader of the pension plan that had $439.4 billion in assets at the end of 2022, and serves more than 2 million members of its retirement system and more than 1.5 million members in its health program.

Bienvenue has been at CalPERS since 2004 and held several leadership positions in the investment office. Before CalPERS, he was a principal and senior portfolio manager with Barclays Global Investors, where his team oversaw a $55 billion international equity portfolio across developed and emerging markets.

CalPERS officials, chief executive Marcie Frost, and its board will soon launch a global search to identify candidates for the position. It took 18 months to find and hire Musicco after Meng resigned in August 2020.

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Musicco was only the second woman to lead the investment operations of CalPERS. She previously ran RedBird Capital Partners’ Canadian business.

At CalPERS, she grew the pension plan’s private market investing programs, including new co-investing opportunities. Musicco was also a big proponent of a $1 billion commitment in 2022 to identify and support emerging and diverse investor entrepreneurs in private markets. The investment office has expanded its focus on high-value sustainable investing and is currently working on new initiatives built around the core principles of innovation and resiliency, according to the pension plan.

“One of our guiding principles at CalPERS is to recognize the importance of our employees and their families,” CalPERS Board of Administration President Theresa Taylor said. “While we will greatly miss Nicole’s leadership, we support her decision and will keep her and her family in our thoughts. We thank Nicole for her hard work toward strengthening our members’ retirement benefits.”

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