Private equity chief of New York Pension leaves

Paula Chester has left the New York State Common Retirement Fund, where she managed a $15bn private equity portfolio.

( Paula Chester, who since 1999 has served as director of private equity for the New York State Common Retirement Fund, has resigned.


Chester, who could not be reached for comment, left her position late last month. She has been replaced by Dave Loglisci, a former vice president at investment bank Salomon Smith Barney, according to a source familiar with the situation.


Chester became director of private equity in 1999 when she switched to the position from her role as general counsel to then-comptroller H Carl McCall.


The fund, valued at roughly $100bn, is one of the biggest backers of private equity in the US. Chester oversaw a portfolio of over $15.5bn of commitments in alternative investments and real estate. In 2000, Chester reportedly said her group would commit between $1.2bn and $1.5bn per year to private equity partnerships. Last year, the pension committed capital to a number of firms, including Warburg Pincus, Blum Capital Partners, JP Morgan Partners, The Blackstone Group and mezzanine debt specialist Oaktree Capital Management. Chester’s private equity group also focused on managers specialising in emerging minority- and women-owned businesses.


Chester’s resignation comes as the fund receives a new comptroller – Alan Hevesi – who was elected to the post last year. It is not unusual for a new comptroller administration to bring with it a new line-up of investment professionals. Still, one pension consultant described Chester’s departure as “quick,” and speculated the resignation may have to do with her close relationship with Elizabeth Holtzman, who lost to Hevesi in a 1993 race for New York City Comptroller.


Prior to her appointment as counsel to the comptroller, Chester served as general counsel to the New York City Comptroller from 1990 to 1993. Before joining the City Comptroller's office, Chester served as associate and later partner in the firm of Berger & Steingut. Between 1977 and 1981, she worked for the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


In related news, Jacques Jiha has been named deputy comptroller reporting to Hevesi.