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CalPERS Hires New Chief Operating Investment Officer

Swiss pension executive Elisabeth Bourqui has been appointed to lead investment operations at America’s largest public defined benefit plan.

  • By Alicia McElhaney

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has appointed a new chief operating investment officer, the $351 billion pension announced Friday.

CalPERS has hired Swiss pension executive Elisabeth Bourqui to take over the role from Wylie Tollette, who stepped down in January. Bourqui, currently head of pension assets and liabilities management at automation company ABB Group, will join CalPERS on May 14, according to the announcement.

"Elisabeth will strengthen our efforts to innovate, and to integrate business practices across our global investment platform,” CalPERS chief investment officer Ted Eliopoulos said in a statement. “She will also be instrumental in the implementation of business strategies particularly in private equity and asset allocation."

Prior to working for ABB, Bourqui was an investment consultant at Mercer, where she specialized in private and public pension funds. In her new role, she will lead CalPERS’ business and operations functions.

CalPERS had announced in December that Tollette, who had been at the retirement system since 2014, would leave to return to Franklin Templeton Investments, where he had previously worked for 19 years.

[II Deep Dive: CalPERS Chief Operating Investment Officer Steps Down]

While at CalPERS, Tollette launched the pension fund’s private equity accounting system, used to report fee information regarding its private market investments.

Matt Flynn, a CalPERS investment director, served as interim COIO while a search was conducted for a replacement. He will return to his role as investment director after Bourqui arrives. 

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