Trifecta of Big Changes at Midwestern Pensions

Major personnel changes have been announced at three of the Midwest’s largest pension systems.

At the $26 billion Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, the chief investment officer, Walter Koziol, is paving the way for his retirement in the next year after after being in the role for more than two decades. In neighboring Indiana, the $22 billion, jointly managed Indiana Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF) and Indiana Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRF), have appointed Bob Clone as the new Director of Private Equity. And finally, the $76 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has named Hewitt EnnisKnupp as its sole advisor for alternative investments.

In Illinois, Koziol hasn’t yet set an exit date. The pension fund has already taken the first step of issuing a request for proposal to hire an executive search firm. Linda Horrell, the pension’s chief spokesman, said a search firm won’t likely be chosen until June or July, so the pension might “be looking well into 2012 before a decision is made.”

“He is a consummate professional,” said Horrell of Koziol in a written statement. “Through his leadership, the IMRF investment portfolio weathered the 2008-2009 market decline and has posted a strong recovery.” The fund has roughly $1 billion in alternative investments, about 4 percent of the total, an amount shy of the system’s 6 percent alternative asset target.

In Indiana, Bob Clone has already begun his role managing the private equity investments of PERF and TRF, according to Clone’s LinkedIn page. The appointment was first reported in Fortune. His new boss in Indiana, David Cooper, was appointed Chief Investment Officer last year. The system manages at least $4 billion in alternative assets.

He joins the Indiana pensions after serving with the Michigan Office of Retirement Services for 24 years, including 11 years as its senior manager for private equity investments. There, he managed more than $1.5 billion in private equity commitments, part of that state’s $6.5 billion alternatives portfolio.

In Ohio, the appointment of Hewitt EnnisKnupp comes after the state decided to have one manager for all its alternative investments, instead of separate advisors for private equity, real estate and hedge funds. The previous alternatives consultants were Hamilton Lane for private equity, Townsend Group for real estate and Mercer for hedge funds.