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New Course at CalPERS?

CalPERs new CIO Joseph Dear has a unique set of skills that could come in handy.

Unlike previous CIOs of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Joseph Dear, 57, who was appointed to the post last month, doesn’t have any advanced degrees in finance or economics. But the former executive director of the $51 billion Washington State Investment Board brings management, leadership and political skills that could come in handy, as the nation’s largest public pension fund copes with a drop in assets from $260 billion in October 2007 to $175 billion late last month. "This time period offers a splendid opportunity for institutions with courage, insight and cash," he said in a November interview with II. Dear, also chairman of the Council of Institutional Investors, ran the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration during president Bill Clinton’s first term, and then was chief of staff to Washington State Governor Gary Locke from 1997 to 2001. Dear takes over in March, replacing Russell Read, who left in June.