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Amid Executive Level Turnover, the D.C. Retirement Board’s CIO Steps Down

Mark Spindel was the $10.3 billion fund’s fourth investment chief since 2017.

After just a year at the helm, the District of Columbia Retirement Board’s chief investment officer has stepped down. 

Mark Spindel told Institutional Investor on Wednesday that he is moving on “after an incredible year.” 

The move comes amid ongoing turnover at the upper echelons of the DCRB’s team. Spindel is the Retirement Board’s fourth chief investment officer since 2017, when Sheila Morgan-Johnson, who had been the fund’s chief investment officer since 1991, moved into a new role. 

In August of 2018, Jeffrey Barnette joined the fund, only to leave the following September. Longtime investment team member Patrick Sahm stepped in as interim CIO when Barnette left in 2019 and then returned to his post as senior investment strategist when Spindel joined the fund in August 2020. Barnette did not return messages seeking comment. 

It’s unclear where Spindel is headed next. He said in a LinkedIn message: “It’s been a privilege to manage the retirement assets of so many important teachers, firefighters, and police officers in DC and to know that our investment success helps keep the DCRB fully funded.” 

The $10.3 billion fund has also been cycling through executive directors. After her stint as CIO, Morgan-Johnson became the retirement board’s executive director in 2017. She stayed in that role until she retired in February 2021.  

Karen Hsu, who joined the retirement board as a pension administrator in August 2020, became the fund’s interim executive director following Morgan-Johnson's departure. She worked as executive director for two months before leaving the pension fund, her LinkedIn profile shows. She did not return a message seeking comment. 

Betty Ann Kane, who had previously been the retirement board’s executive director, has again taken the helm in an interim role, a DCRB document from June shows. The June documents don't provide any further information on her appointment.

A spokesperson for the retirement board did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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