NYSTRS hires Verizon private equity manager

The state teachers’ pension system has brought on Danielle Seger as a private equity investment officer. Seger left Verizon’s investment management unit shortly after the company hired Goldman Sachs to run its private equity portfolio.

A former private equity manager with Verizon Investment Management Company has joined the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Danielle Seger, who formerly worked in the role of manager, private equity at Verizon, joined NYSTRS in August as a private equity investment officer. Seger had worked at Verizon Investment Management Company in various roles since 2007.

Michael O’Connor, director, investment management, “is VIMCO’s contact for all private assets”, according to a spokesperson for Verizon.

In August, Private Equity International exclusively revealed that the investment management unit, which manages the company’s $24 billion defined-benefit pension fund, had hired Goldman Sachs to manage a large portion of its private assets portfolio. The portfolio is valued at around $8 billion and includes private equity and real estate.

At the time, a Verizon spokesperson told PEI the hiring of Goldman would have some impact on the private assets team, though it wasn’t clear at the time if anyone would be losing their job. Other members of the private assets team include Pamela Lake, a director, and Jonathan Raskin, director of private markets.

The spokesperson also would not confirm whether VIMCO would continue to commit to private equity funds, or simply let its about $6 billion portfolio wind down. The private equity portfolio was valued at about $6.1 billion in the company’s annual report for 2011, though it’s not clear if that amount includes unfunded commitments. Verizon has about $2.1 billion in real estate investments, the report said.

New York State Teachers’, on the other hand, remains an active private equity investor. Last year, the system hired Sean Holland to work in a newly created private equity manager role covering international, venture capital and special situations, and involving deal sourcing and due diligence.

The pension system’s former head of private equity, Dhvani Shah, left last year to take on the chief investment officer role at the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. New York State Teachers’ is searching for someone to replace Shah.