Arizona State names new CIO

Karl Polen, the head of private markets at the Arizona State Retirement System, will become chief investment officer replacing Gary Dokes.

The Arizona State Retirement System has promoted Karl Polen, its head of private markets, to chief investment officer (cio) as of 1 March.

Polen replaces Gary Dokes, who left on 29 February to become the cio of the Arizona Community Foundation.

The $32 billion Arizona pension plan has been focusing on the US mid-market buyout, while it plans to reduce emphasis on large buyout strategies, although large managers with specialised deal flow remain of interest.

It has also been building up a large private debt allocation, having raised its target to the asset class to 10 percent from 3 percent last year. ASRS has been filling the allocation with a mix of brand-name private debt managers since.

Prior to joining the ASRS, Polen spent 30 years in the private financial sector, serving as executive vice president of Pivotal Group, and senior vice president and chief financial officer for Robson Communities, among other roles.

“Karl has demonstrated extraordinary talent in all relevant areas of investment management, including real estate, private equity, private debt, asset allocation, research and leadership,” ASRS executive director Paul Matson said in a statement. “With this breadth of experience, I’m confident the ASRS will continue to be a top-tier investment performer,” he added.