CalPERS on Wednesday named its third chief financial officer in 14 months, announcing that it’s hiring former California state Finance Director Michael Cohen for one of the top positions at the $360 billion pension fund.
Cohen, Gov. Jerry Brown’s top budget officer since 2013 until he resigned last week, will join CalPERS on Oct. 1. He also was appointed by Brown this month to join the University of California Board of Regents.
“Michael’s experience managing the multi-billion dollar state budget on behalf of Gov. Jerry Brown makes him a perfect fit to manage CalPERS’ complex financial operations,” said CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Marcie Frost.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has had trouble filling the job.
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In June 2017, it hired California state Human Resources Department Director Richard Gillihan for the position. He could not take the job because he is a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration, and moving to a staff job presented a conflict of interest for him.
After Gillihan stepped away from the position, CalPERS hired former mining company executive Charles Asubonten to oversee the fund’s finances.
CalPERS dismissed him in May after a financial blog uncovered exaggerations in his resume and job application. CalPERS investigated the report, and found that Asubonten could not provide information to confirm key details from his application.