Pension giant California State Teachers’ Retirement System has appointed Julie Underwood as chief financial officer, poaching her from another public pension fund to fill a position that had been vacant for more than three months.
Underwood spent eight years as CFO at San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association, which has $9.9 billion in assets under management. She replaces Robin Madsen, who retired in March.
“Julie has all the technical public pension finance and accounting acumen we were searching for plus the energy, attitude and work ethic that fits in perfectly with CalSTRS workplace culture,” CalSTRS chief executive Jack Ehnes said. “The hiring process for an executive position is by default challenging. And I think hiring for our CFO takes the challenge to a higher level given the extensive requirements for risk management, financial accountability and oversight of internal controls for our multi-billion dollar organisation. Julie’s passion for the work and known ability to engage with a workforce as diverse as ours made the process easier.”
Chief investment officer Christopher Ailman credited its culture with minimising turnover in an interview with sister publication Private Equity International.
Underwood starts work at CalSTRS on July 16. Prior to her time at San Bernardino Underwood held various accounting and tax positions with the Superior Court of California in San Bernardino county, and public accounting firms including Ernst & Young. She is a licensed CPA in California.
CalSTRS, with $224.9 billion in assets under management, is one of the largest retirement funds in the US and the largest educator-only pension fund in the world.