The next chief investment officer at the nation’s largest public pension fund will have a shot to earn $1.77 million in a single year, about 50 percent more than the executive in that post today can collect in wages and bonuses.
CalPERS on Wednesday voted to sweeten the compensation package it offers for two top executives as it sets out to replace outgoing Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos and to fill a vacancy at chief financial officer.
Eliopoulos earned $867,200 last year with $553,000 in base salary, according to state salary records. The cap on his total pay is about $1.1 million.
He's the top investment officer overseeing the California Public Employees' Retirement System's $355 billion portfolio. He’s also the highest paid executive at the pension fund.
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The CalPERS Board of Administration launched an executive salary survey in 2015 and has been reconsidering the compensation it offers to top executives since then. It asked consultant Grant Thornton to recommend a new pay range after Eliopoulos in May announced that he would leave CalPERS later this year.
"Our compensation is just too low," board member Richard Costigan said in May. "We’re not attracting quality candidates. The quality candidates who want to come here are negatively impacted by the salary levels."
Eliopoulos had a salary range of $408,000 to $612,000 and he was eligible to earn a bonus equivalent to 75 percent of his wages.
His successor will be able to earn a salary up to $707,500 and a bonus equivalent to 150 percent of base wages.
Two members of the CalPERS' Board of Administration, Margaret Brown and Richard Gillihan, voted against increasing the pay package.
A new chief financial officer will be able to earn up to $507,500. The person selected for that job will be able to earn up to $362,500 in base wages and a bonus worth 40 percent of salary. The cap of $507,500 is about $73,000 more than what was available to previous chief financial officers.
CalPERS has had trouble filling that job over the past year.
It offered it to Gillihan, CalHR director, a year ago, but he could not take the job because he sits on the CalPERS Board of Administration and moving to a staff assignment presented a conflict of interest.
Charles Asubonten held the job from October until May, but left CalPERS after the financial blog Naked Capitalism raised questions about his résumé and job application.