Hayes successor at CalPERS announced

Leon Shahinian has been appointed senior investment officer for CalPERS’ influential $20bn alternative investment programme, replacing previous incumbent Rick Hayes.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has announced the appointment of Leon Shahinian as senior investment officer for its alternative investment programme.

Shahinian, who joined CalPERS in 1998, takes over from Rick Hayes, who left last month to become a managing partner at Oak Hill Capital Management, the New York-headquartered alternative asset specialist. At Oak Hill, Hayes' brief will be to build a fund of funds investment programme.

Shahinian will be responsible for managing the $20 billion (€16.2 billion) globally diversified private equity portfolio. He will oversee the investment team and external advisors and will report directly into CalPERS chief investment officer Mark Anson.

In a statement, Anson said: “I’m extremely confident in Leon and his skills leading our team of investment professionals. Leon has been instrumental in helping us to build a strong, diverse and world-class private equity programme.”

Prior to joining CalPERS, Shahinian co-managed a $1.5 billion fixed income portfolio for Sacramento-based Foundation Health Systems and had previously worked as a senior credit analyst for Sacramento Commercial Bank.

Under Hayes’ direction, CalPERS invested more than $15.5 billion in private equity vehicles worldwide and passed the $5 billion threshold in terms of cash distributions received since the inception of the private equity programme.

CalPERS’ total assets are worth approximately $160 billion.