The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation is making a change at the top.
Two weeks after chief investment officer Russell Read announced his resignation, the state-owned corporation’s board of trustees voted unanimously to begin a worldwide search for his replacement.
“I thought Russell was a great hire, and I regret we’re in this position,” APFC CEO Angela Rodell said during a special meeting of the board of trustees on Tuesday.
The position will be held on an interim basis by Marcus Frampton, the corporation’s director of investments, real assets and absolute return since 2012.
Read has served at the $65.4 billion corporation’s executive level since May 2016, and his departure comes at an auspicious time for the APFC.
In Read’s first fiscal year as the fund’s investment leader, it returned 12.89 percent on its investments, overwhelmingly beating both the corporation’s target and long-term averages. Full figures for his second fiscal year (which ended June 30) have not yet been published, but as of May 31, the fund was returning more than 10 percent on an annual basis.
Earlier this year, the Alaska Legislature voted for the first time to use those investment earnings for something other than the annual Permanent Fund Dividend. As part of the state’s operating budget, the Legislature approved a withdrawal of $2.7 billion from the fund. Of that, $1 billion will pay dividends, and the remaining $1.7 billion will pay for general government expenses.
The withdrawal cuts the state’s annual deficit to about $700 million, but it increases pressure on the fund to perform. If the fund misses its performance targets while the Legislature continues withdrawals, the value of the fund will drop and the Permanent Fund risks becoming impermanent.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Rodell supported in-house hiring for a new CIO. As she explained to trustees, since she became CEO of the corporation in 2015, she has worked to improve in-house staffing.
She cautioned that outside hiring can have mixed results and be lengthy. Furthermore, she said, a new CIO will likely come with a new attitude toward investment and may want to change the corporation’s policy.
Nevertheless, the trustees concluded that it would be better to cast as wide a net as possible in order to attract the best possible candidate. They also told Rodell to work on an aggressive timeline. Where she had suggested it might take six months or more to find a replacement, the trustees suggested four and a half months.
Rodell said the corporation will begin searching for a headhunting firm to aid in the process of finding someone.
Read gave one month’s advance notice of his resignation, and his final day will be Aug. 10.
• Contact reporter James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2258.