CalPERS’ Hayes leaves for Oak Hill

Rick Hayes, the head of CalPERS’ huge and influential private equity programme, has resigned to lead a fund of funds business for Oak Hill Capital Management, the alternative investment firm affiliated with oil billionaire Robert Bass.

Richard Hayes, senior investment officer of the alternative investment management programme at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has resigned to become a managing partner at Oak Hill Capital Management, the two firms announced.

Hayes will become president and chief executive officer of a new alternative investment fund of funds division of the investment firm, which has offices in New York; Menlo Park, California; and Fort Worth, Texas. Hayes’ group will be based in Sacramento, California, where CalPERS is based.

Hayes has worked at CalPERS for six years. Since 2000, he has been chairman of the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA), a trade group for institutional investors in private equity.

The CalPERS private equity investment portfolio is worth roughly $20 billion (€16.2 billion), making it among the largest backers of private equity in the world. Under Hayes’ direction, CalPERS invested more than $15.5 billion in private equity vehicles globally, according to a CalPERS statement. Recently, Hayes announced that CalPERS had crossed the $5 billion mark in terms of cash distributions received since the private equity programme’s inception.

During Hayes’ tenure at CalPERS, he forged relationships with major private equity firms such as Texas Pacific Group and The Carlyle Group, as well as with smaller firms like New Mountain Capital, through equity investments in the firms' management companies.

In previous interviews, Hayes has said he wanted to build CalPERS' reputation as that of a favoured LP and investment partner.

Under Hayes, the CalPERS private equity programme was the center of some controversy, including the debate over GP performance disclosure and, at the state level, over staff compensation.

CalPERS’ total assets are approximately $160 billion.

Hayes’ departure comes several days after Frank Fernandez, until recently the senior portfolio manager at Florida State Board of Administration in charge of private equity, left to join Austin, Texas-based private equity consulting firm Alignment Capital. Fernandez was a vice chairman of ILPA.