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California pensions investment chief to step down for family reasons

by Janessa Lee

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Steps Down for Personal Reasons

In a surprising announcement, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) revealed that its Chief Investment Officer, Nicole Musicco, is stepping down from her position on September 29th. Musicco, who became the second woman to lead the investment operations of the largest U.S. state pension manager, is leaving to attend to the immediate needs of her family in Toronto, Canada.

With $463 billion in assets under management, CalPERS is responsible for providing retirement and health benefits to over two million public employees and their families in California. As the Chief Investment Officer, Musicco was tasked with overseeing the investment strategy for the fund and ensuring its long-term financial stability.

During her tenure, Musicco has implemented several important initiatives at CalPERS, including the adoption of a new strategic asset allocation plan and the diversification of the fund’s investment portfolio. She also played a significant role in driving the organization’s focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investment decision-making.

Her departure comes at a critical time for CalPERS, as it continues to navigate the volatile market conditions brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Under Musicco’s leadership, the fund has managed to weather the storm, delivering positive returns despite market uncertainty.

To ensure a smooth transition, CalPERS has appointed Musicco’s deputy, Dan Bienvenue, as the interim Chief Investment Officer. With over two decades of experience in investment management, Bienvenue is well-equipped to lead the fund’s investment team until a permanent replacement is found.

CalPERS has also announced that it will soon initiate a global search for a new Chief Investment Officer. Finding a suitable candidate for this high-profile position will be essential to maintaining the fund’s strong investment performance and meeting its long-term financial obligations to California’s public employees.

The departure of Musicco underscores the challenges faced by top executives in maintaining a work-life balance, especially in demanding roles within the financial industry. Despite her achievements and contributions to CalPERS, Musicco is prioritizing the needs of her family, demonstrating the importance of personal well-being amidst professional responsibilities.

As CalPERS embarks on its search for a new Chief Investment Officer, the organization’s stakeholders will closely monitor the selection process. The incoming executive will need to possess a unique combination of investment expertise, leadership skills, and a commitment to sustainable investment practices to guide the fund successfully in the uncertain economic landscape.

In the meantime, the pension plan’s beneficiaries and the investment community at large will undoubtedly remember Nicole Musicco for her impactful contributions and wish her well as she tends to her family’s needs in her native Canada.

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