Wood leaves CalPERS for revamped Cap Z

The pension giant’s senior investment officer for global equity has resigned to become chief executive of the recently spun-out hedge fund sponsor.

Christianna Wood, senior investment officer for global equity at the $237 billion (€160 billion) California Public Employees’ Retirement System, is to become chief executive officer of New York-based alternative asset manager Capital Z Asset Management.

Wood, 48, has been with the US’ largest public pension fund since 2002 and will depart in mid-February. Her role will be filled initially by Eric Baggesen, currently a senior portfolio manager.

During her five-year career at CalPERS, Wood was responsible for managing $150 billion in domestic and international public equities, including a $7.5 billion hedge fund portfolio and $7 billion in activist corporate governance funds. She joined CalPERS from Denver Investment Advisors in Colorado, where she served as a principal and portfolio manager and director of value strategies.

Capital Z Investment Partners said yesterday it completed a management buyout of its hedge fund sponsorship business in partnership with private equity firm Paine & Partners. Capital Z Asset Management was established following the transaction to continue and expand the hedge fund sponsorship activities begun by Capital Z in 1998. As part of this transaction, Capital Z's hedge fund management team and Paine & Partners will purchase the minority ownership hedge fund management company and general partnership interests held by the limited partners in two of Capital Z's alternative investment sponsorship funds, according to a statement.

Paine & Partners itself recently announced its name change from Fox Paine Management III, which was a separate entity created out of veteran San Francisco private equity firm Fox Paine & Co. in the wake of acrimony between the two co-founders, Dexter Paine and Saul Fox.

In addition to its new chief executive, Capital Z also promoted Elizabeth Flisser, 34, to be president of Capital Z Asset Management. Flisser has been with Capital Z since 1999 and has been responsible the hedge fund sponsorship program, as well as the firm's structured product and strategic investments.

Capital Z Investment Partners is led by CEO Laurence Cheng.