CalSTRS Names Next CIO

Scott Chan, Chris Ailman’s right-hand man, will take the helm on July 1.


Courtesy Photo

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System has tapped deputy chief investment officer Scott Chan to serve as its next CIO.

Chan, who joined CalSTRS in 2018, will replace longtime CIO Christopher Ailman, who is retiring on June 30. Chan’s first day as CIO will be July 1.

“Scott has a unique combination of deep institutional investing skills and experience plus a down-to-earth leadership style, and he is committed to upholding the CalSTRS culture,” search committee Chair Harry Keiley said in a statement. “He is unquestionably the right person to lead our talented and diverse team on behalf of California’s public educators and their loved ones.”

The $332.5 billion pension fund’s board launched a search for Ailman’s replacement in January, which included external candidates. Ultimately, though, the board settled on Ailman’s right-hand man, Chan, who has played an instrumental role in some of its biggest initiatives in recent years, including implementing the Collaborative Model.

The model helps CalSTRS save on fees by insourcing functions like public markets trading and partnering with external managers on co-investments and other lower-fee investment structures. Since implementation in 2017, the model has saved CalSTRS $1.6 billion, “thanks in large part to Chan’s thoughtful oversight,” the fund said.

As CIO, Chan will push this model forward, in addition to managing the policies, people, budget, and investments for the pension fund.

“As deputy CIO, Scott has already brought so much value to CalSTRS,” CEO Cassandra Lichnock said in a statement. “He is helping lead the alignment of our organizational sustainability goals with our sustainable investing and net zero goals. I look forward to his partnership as we continue to fulfill our promise to California’s teachers.”

Prior to joining CalSTRS, Chan was a senior managing director at the University of California, Office of the CIO of the Regents. There, he oversaw a $55 billion global equities portfolio and served on the investment committees at the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. He also previously served as the CIO for the Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System.

Today, Chan is a board member at the Toigo Foundation, co-chair and board member of the Institutional Investors Roundtable, and serves on the Milken Institute’s Executive Counsel for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Asset Management.

“I am honored to oversee CalSTRS investments and lead our amazing team,” Chan said in a statement. “Securing the retirement of our members is extremely meaningful to me personally, as the husband of a California educator, and professionally, as we seek innovative opportunities in ever-changing financial markets.”