Tennessee Pension’s PE Chief To Step Down

Pension System: Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System

Assets Managed: $37 billion (Dec. 2012)

PE Assets Managed: $200 million (Dec. 2012)

PE Allocation / Target: 1% / 3% (Dec. 2012)

Chief Investment Officer: Michael Brakebill

Villere, who reports to Michael Brakebill, TCRS’s chief investment officer, is the pension’s first director of private equity: He was appointed to the role in 2009, a year after Tennessee’s legislature moved to allow the pension system to invest in private equity and other alternatives.

“It was fortunate to start our [private equity] program when we did,” said Villere. “We were putting money in when everyone else was pulling away from the asset class.”

TCRS has a 3 percent target allocation to private equity, although the cap is 10 percent. The system recently reached the $1 billion commitment mark, and so far has about $200 million in invested private equity capital, according to Villere.

On an interim basis, Villere will be replaced by Daniel Crews, a private equity analyst at TCRS. So far, TCRS has not formally launched a search for a permanent replacement.

Villere & Co., where Lamar Villere will be an investment manager, oversees $2 billion in assets, mostly stocks and bonds, for high-net-worth investors and institutions. It does not invest in private equity or other alternatives.

“It will be tough to leave here,” said Villere, referring to TCRS. “It’s a great group of folks, and it’s a fun and rewarding job. I’ll also miss seeing the portfolio grow. We planted a bunch of oak trees, and now I’m leaving.”

Villere came to TCRS from the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, where he was a senior investment officer for four years and helped to manage both its private equity and hedge funds portfolios.

Buyouts Contributing Editor Mark Cecil contributed reporting.