NORTH AMERICA IN BRIEF

Retail-focused private equity firmLNK has hired former Levi Strauss executive Phil Marineau as a partner, where he will join the former heads of office supply company Staples and apparel company Phillips-Van Heusen. Prior to joining Levi's, Marineau was president and chief executive of Pepsi North America. LNK closed its debut fund in May 2006 on $400 million.

LP TURNOVER
The $3.3 billion Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado has hired former Illinois State University Retirement System director Dan Slack as its chief executive. Slack has served as executive director of the $14.5 billion university pension since 2005, prior to which he was the pension's associate executive director and general counsel.

Deputy chief investment officer for the New York Common Retirement Fund Nick Smirensky has stepped down to take the reins of the New York State Health Foundation's $300 million investment portfolio. Smirensky had been responsible for the retirement fund's $13 billion private equity programme.

The $29.5 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, which manages income from the state's oil and mineral resources, has appointed former Microsoft executive Jeffrey Scott as chief investment officer following a four month search. Scott spent nine years at Microsoft Corporation as assistant treasurer overseeing a $60 billion absolute return portfolio.

TECH EXPERTS
Venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates has added Hugh Panero, co-founder of XM Satellite Radio, as a venture partner in its consumer technology unit. Panero helped launch the subscription-based radio service in 1998 and served as its chief executive until August 2007, a year before the company merged with rival SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

Cleantech-focused venture capital firm RockPort has bolstered its Silicon Valley office with the appointment of Victor Westerlind as a general partner. Westerlind previously worked at Applied Materials, where he helped bring semiconductor physical vapour deposition equipment into the flat panel display industry. RockPort closed its third cleantech fund last June on $453 million.

UK-based private equity firm 3i has closed its Menlo Park office as it continues to move away from earlystage venture capital technology investing. It is unclear what will happen to the 13-member team in Silicon Valley, which was led by Jim McLean. The firm closed its venture capital-focused Boston office at the end of 2007.

Private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners has hired former E*TRADE Financial chief executive Mitchell Caplan as an executive advisor. Caplan will assist the financial services-focused firm in evaluating global opportunities in the retail financial services sector. Aquiline was founded in 2005 as a joint venture between Venturion Capital and Jeffrey Greenberg.

The BlackBerry Partners Fund has augmented its investment team with the hires of Marc Faucher and Matt Golden. The $150 million Ontario-based fund is co-managed by Canadian venture firm JLA Ventures and the technology-focused venture arm of the Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Venture Partners.

CHANGING NAMES AND FIRMS
Five months after declaring its intended independence, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking renamed itself Irving Place Capital, a change that took effect on 1 November. BSMB, previously the private equity arm of defunct investment bank Bear Stearns, said it would spin off from new parent JPMorgan to become an independent private equity firm on 5 June.

NewYork-based secondaries, funds of funds and co-investment firm Pomona Capital has hired Jordan Robinson as head of product development, marketing and distribution. Robinson was previously a vice president in AIG Investments' $30 billion private equity strategies group in a similar role.