New Jersey hires new head of private equity

Dana Johns previously served as a senior portfolio manager on Maryland’s private equity team.

New Jersey Division of Investment announced it hired Dana Johns as its head of private equity, according to a press release.

The $86.5 billion system has been without a director of its private equity program since last August after the departure of Jared Speicher, who left for a similar role at MetLife.

Johns comes from the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, where she has worked since 2011, last serving as a senior portfolio manager for private equity, according to her LinkedIn profile. Johns previously worked as an investment associate for private equity fund of funds Camden Partners, starting in 2002.

Johns chairs the Private Equity Women Investor Network and is a member of ILPA’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council, according to the press release.

Before working in private equity, Johns was a deputy director at a Baltimore art museum, according to her LinkedIn.

Johns will take over a program that has seen relatively frequent leadership turnover. Former alternative investment team member John Panebianco also departed for MetLife in January.

The system’s private equity portfolio was valued at around $10.7 billion. Recently, it committed to CVC Capital Partners IX and American Industrial Partners VIII.