Anne Stausboll announced her retirement Thursday as chief executive of CalPERS, ending a tenure during which she guided the nation’s largest public pension fund through a bribery scandal and the financial markets crash.
Stausboll, 59, said she will leave June 30, when the fiscal year ends.
“I’m really ready to explore the next chapter of my life,” she said in an interview. After taking some time off, she said she’ll be “looking for new opportunities to serve the public.”
Stausboll became the pension fund’s CEO in January 2009 and had to deal with the aftermath of the 2008 market crash. CalPERS wound up losing billions of dollars in the crash. Although its portfolio has recovered, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System remains underfunded and continues to feel the financial effects of the downturn.
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Within months of becoming CEO, she had to contend with a bribery scandal involving her predecessor, Fred Buenrostro.
Buenrostro eventually pleaded guilty to taking bribes from former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos, who was a “placement agent” representing private-equity firms seeking investments from the pension fund. Buenrostro is scheduled to be sentenced in May. Villalobos, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, committed suicide last year in Reno.
“It was definitely a time of turmoil,” Stausboll said, referring to the early years of her tenure. “It was a challenge. I think we’ve really landed in a good place.”
Rob Feckner, the pension fund’s board president, said in a prepared statement: “CalPERS is a better organization because of Anne. She led us through a difficult period, and we have emerged as a more accountable, transparent and smarter institution.”
Prior to becoming CEO, Stausboll was a staff attorney, deputy general counsel and interim chief investment officer at CalPERS.