CalPERS CEO Steps Down

CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) Chief Executive Officer James Burton will leave his post at the end of next week to head up the World Gold Council, an industry association of gold mining companies in London.

Although he is the fourth senior executive to leave CalPERS in the last nine months – Chief Investment Officer Daniel Szente resigned in November and the system’s deputy executive officer and general counsel each joined the private sector last month – Burton’s departure is not expected to alter the system’s investment policies or its investment strategy. His position is largely an administrative one. A 13-member investment committee determines the system’s investment policies and they are implemented by an internal investment staff. The chief executive oversees the system’s day-to-day operations.

In May Burton announced his resignation as head of the $150 billion Sacramento-based public pension fund and said he would step down before the end of the year. CalPERS’ board of administration is expected to name an interim CEO at its meeting on Wednesday. It is expected to name Burton’s replacement within the next two months.

Burton joined CalPERS in 1992 and became its CEO in 1994 when the system held $78 billion in investments. He had previously been California’s Deputy State Controller, advising the state on government borrowing, public pension and state finance issues.

At the World Gold Council he is charged with reinvigorating the trade group – to cut costs and create a new infrastructure. The World Gold Council was founded in 1987 by gold mining companies to stimulate consumer and investor demand for gold. Its projects include maintaining a database on gold science and technology, the publication of a gold jewelry magazine and gathering statistics on gold investment.

Contact Carolina Braunschweig