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New Zealand Sovereign Fund Chief Resigns for Central Bank

Adrian Orr will step down from the $26 billion fund, leaving a track record of 10.5 percent returns per year.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has named its sovereign wealth fund chief executive Adrian Orr as governor, the central bank and New Zealand Superannuation Fund announced Monday.

Orr is to take over for a five-year term from acting reserve bank governor Grant Spencer as of March 27, 2018.

Outgoing director Grant said in a press release that he was delighted the board secured a replacement “with such a strong track record of delivery and public service. Mr. Orr has the technical and leadership qualities required to be governor and CEO of the Reserve Bank. Further, I consider that he has the skills necessary to successfully lead the bank through a period of change.”

[II Deep Dive: New Zealand’s Orr, One of the World’s Most Innovative Investors]

The now NZ$37 billion ($26 billion) fund has returned 10.5 percent year since inception, according to a release from the organization. Over the past five years, New Zealand’s sovereign fund has returned an annualized 16.2 percent.

Orr arrived at the fund as the global financial crisis unfolded in 2007 and used the then-18-person investment team to create a much smaller portfolio amid new chaos and opportunity.

“The great thing was that I’d employed half a dozen people out of investment and central banks who were used to liquidity and crisis management,” he told II in 2014. “Because, as horrific as the experience was, it gave us the opportunity to say to the board: ‘Look, management needs to be in control of the investment process. We can’t come back to you and ask you how to run this thing in real time.’”

Orr will remain CEO of the New Zealand Super fund until late March 2018, the sovereign wealth organization said.

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