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Hawaii Pension Picks Acting CIO, Seeks Permanent Replacement

After an abrupt split with its CIO, the fund has solicited the help of executive recruitment firms.

  • By Leanna Orr

The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii has named Howard Hodel as acting chief investment officer following the abrupt departure of its CIO last month, according to executive director Thomas Williams.

Hodel assumed the pension fund’s CIO responsibilities on March 1, replacing Vijoy Chattergy, who left late last month, Williams said during a board meeting in Honolulu Monday morning. Hodel had been the fund’s risk management investment officer since 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“The investment staff supports him and the individual members of the board support him, as well,” Williams said at the meeting. “Congratulations to Howard.” 

Hodel takes over the $16.9 billion public pension fund weeks after the organization abruptly split with CIO Chattergy. During the meeting, Williams characterized Chattergy’s exit as a resignation effective February 22. The Honolulu Star Advertiser, however, reported on February 15 that the CIO had been dismissed. Chattergy declined to comment.

[II Deep Dive: Vijoy Chattergy Keeps Hawaii's Pension Fund Open to Options]

Hodel joined Hawaii’s pension plan after consulting for more than a decade on “investment, financial, energy, real estate, and risk management” topics, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he spent three years with the Bank of Hawaii’s asset management group, and eight years in Bank of America Corp.’s market risk unit.

With Hodel acting as CIO, the state’s retirement system will now rely on an executive recruitment firm to search for a permanent replacement for Chattergy, Williams said. The deadline for submissions from recruiters competing for the role was noon Monday, Hawaiian-Aleutian Standard Time.

“I’m pleased to note that we have already received — unsolicited — perhaps four or five resumes for the position,” the executive director said, adding that the board will turn them over to the search firm that they choose to retain.

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