N.M. Has Interim CIO After Bland’s Resignation

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has appointed Bob Jacksha interim state investment officer for the state investment council, a significant backer of buyout funds, following the resignation of Gary Bland.

Bland resigned on Oct. 21, without explanation, after learning that the council intended to render a no-confidence vote against him, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Upon learning of the council’s intentions, Bland consulted with Richardson on how the governor wanted to proceed, and then tendered his resignation, said the source.

On Oct. 22, New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish issued a statement on Bland’s resignation saying that “clearly some changes were needed at the New Mexico Investment Council. This resignation makes that fresh start possible. Just like New Mexico families must invest their own money wisely, the state must do the same. The next State Investment Officer must be a smart investor of taxpayer dollars and a tireless champion for increased oversight and accountability. The people of New Mexico deserve no less.”

Until April the state investment council had used Aldus Equity Partners as its private equity consultant: Aldus Equity founder Saul Meyer, in pleading guilty in connection with a kickback scheme in New York, recently admitted to ensuring that “Aldus recommended proposed investments that were pushed on him by politically-connected individuals in New Mexico…”

Jacksha, CIO of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, which had also used Aldus Equity’s services, will serve as interim state investment officer during the search. He previously served as deputy state investment officer for the state investment council.

Jacksha told Buyouts that he’s focusing on the state investment council now, but he remains available to the educational retirement board, if it needs to consult with him. He also said that the governor had asked him to step in, noting that this is an important job for the state, so he agreed to take on the responsibility. The role of the state investment officer is broader than that of CIO because it combines the duties of a CIO and a chief administrative officer. Jacksha said he does not know if he would take the job on a permanent basis if it were offered. “There are some open questions about the position, from the length of the term to the structure of the office moving forward; thus, it would be premature for me to comment any further,” said Jacksha.

Richardson has appointed Doug Brown to head the search for a permanent state investment officer. Brown is dean of the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. The search committee includes four current members of the state investment council. It is not yet known how long the search might take or if the state will hire a search firm or handle it in-house, said Gilbert Gallegos, deputy chief of staff for Richardson.