CalSTRS names Wirth head of private equity

After a year-long search, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System has found its new head of private equity internally, choosing interim co-director of the programme Margot Wirth.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second largest public pension in the US with $133 billion, has named Margot Wirth as director of its $16.8 billion private equity portfolio.

“Margot emerged as the best choice to bring the private equity portfolio through the treacherous waters of the financial crisis, following a year-long search,” Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer with CalSTRS, said in a statement.

Wirth has been with the pension since 2001 as an investment officer. Prior to CalSTRS, Wirth was with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Wirth has been interim co-director of private equity since February 2009 along with Seth Hall.

Hall and Wirth took charge of the private equity portfolio after Real Desrochers retired in February 2009. CalSTRS hired executive search firm Korn/Ferry to search for a new head of the portfolio after losing Desrochers.

CalSTRS has 20 employees who look after private equity, which makes up about 12.7 percent of the total fund as of 28 February, the pension said in a statement.