The State Worker

Pension fund's CFO 'no longer works' for CalPERS after hiring review

California’s public pension crisis is bad and getting worse

California's two major public pension systems are underfunded and are asking local governments to pay more. Critics want to reduce benefits, while others say policymakers should allow time for recent changes to take hold.
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California's two major public pension systems are underfunded and are asking local governments to pay more. Critics want to reduce benefits, while others say policymakers should allow time for recent changes to take hold.

CalPERS is recruiting a new chief financial officer a month after a financial blog reported that Charles Asubonten exaggerated his recent work history in his application to work for the giant pension fund.

Asubonten was scheduled to make presentations as chief financial officer at last week's public meeting of the California Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Administration. He did not make those public appearances.

CalPERS spokesman Wayne Davis said on Monday that Asubonten no longer works for CalPERS.

"He’s no longer with CalPERS. It’s a personnel matter so I can’t say more," Davis said.

CalPERS announced Asubonten’s appointment on Sept. 20, hailing his 20 years of experience of finance and private equity. "Charles' strong leadership capabilities and experience demonstrate his ability to manage CalPERS' complex financial operations that will benefit the fund over the long-term," CalPERS Chief Executive Marcie Frost said at the time.

On April 11, the blog Naked Capitalism published a report that called attention to discrepancies in his resume, particularly in his descriptions of his accomplishments at South African mining company and in work he said he did recently in private equity.

The Sacramento Bee on April 20 reported that Asubonten's hiring was under review.

Davis said Marlene Timberlake D'Adamo, head of CalPERS compliance office, will step as interim chief financial officer while CalPERS recruits Asubonten's successor.

Frost announced D'Adamo's appointment in a message to staff on Monday. Frost's message said Asubonten had moved on, but did not characterize the circumstances of his departure.

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