New Jersey’s new investment chief may beef up alternatives team

  • Chris McDonough had been acting director of investment
  • Timothy Walsh left Garden State post in 2013
  • McDonough had been CIO of the city of Philadelphia

“We do hope to expand our alternative investment team in the coming months and private equity will be an area of focus,” McDonough said in an email to Buyouts.

McDonough had been serving as acting director since last year after the departure of Timothy Walsh, who became chief operating officer of Gaw North America, the U.S. unit of Hong Kong-based real estate manager, Gaw Capital Partners.

Since then, he has managed investments, personnel and strategic direction for a system serving 800,000 current and retired public employees as the 12th largest public pension fund in the United States.

He had served as deputy director since 2010, overseeing the division’s alternative investment team, which manages a portfolio of about $20 billion, and its international equity portfolio of more than $15 billion. He joined New Jersey after working as chief investment officer for the city of Philadelphia.

Out of 100 people who applied for the job in a nationwide search, McDonough emerged as the unanimous recommendation of a search committee and of the State Investment Council.

“Chris McDonough has done an outstanding job as deputy director and, for the last few months, as acting director of the division,” Robert Grady, chairman of the search committee and of the New Jersey State Investment Council, said in a prepared statement. “He is both a good investor and good manager of people and he will be a great leader for the division.”

Grady told Buyouts last November that McDonough was “doing a terrific job and is a highly competent person” and said he was a strong candidate for the job.

At the time, Grady said it the staff at the New Jersey Division of investment was about three positions short of its budgeted head count of 73.