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Four Win Institutional Investor’s Fourth Annual Awards For Excellence in Investment Management

From total of 16 finalists, investment chiefs of International Paper, Oregon retirement system, Sloan Foundation and University of Michigan stand out.

The editors of Institutional Investor have designated Robert Hunkeler of International Paper Co., Erik Lundberg of the University of Michigan, William Petersen of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Ronald Schmitz of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System winners of its Awards for Excellence in Investment Management for 2007.

As reported in the March 2008 edition of the magazine, the winners are selected based on a combination of investment smarts, independent thinking and imagination on the part of chief investment officers. Looking at the most challenging year for money managers in some time, we analyzed a list of criteria, including performance records and asset allocation skills, for 16 finalists. The finalists and winners were honored at a gala dinner January 29 at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

Hunkeler, vice president for trust investments at International Paper, which he joined in 1997, tops the corporate pension plan category for successfully deploying strategies that include asset-class diversification and portable alpha. The other finalists: John Cutler Jr., director of pension and thrift management, ABB; Ralph Egizi, director of benefits, finance and foreign exchange, Eastman Chemical Co.; and David Nixon, director of investments, Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Lundberg, who became the University of Michigan’s first CIO in 1999, takes the honors in endowments. With $7.1 billion under his stewardship, the school has climbed from 17th to eighth place in the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ ranking of U.S. endowments. The other endowment finalists: Christopher Brightman, chief investment officer, University of Virginia Management Co.; David Russ, chief investment officer, Dartmouth College; and Paula Volent, senior vice president for investments, Bowdoin College.

Petersen, who takes the foundations prize for his work as CIO of the Sloan Foundation, which he joined in 1998, has excelled by choosing exceptional managers across a wide range of strategies and eschewing leverage. The other finalists: Paul Lawler, vice president and chief investment officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Susan Manske, vice president and chief investment officer, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Alice Ruth, chief investment officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Schmitz, CIO of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, wins in the public pensions category on the strength of stellar returns in a portfolio heavy with alternative assets. The other finalists: Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer, California State Teachers' Retirement System; Charles Grant, chief investment officer, Virginia Retirement System; and Alan Van Noord, chief investment officer, Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System.