PCG turmoil continues

Pacific Corporate Group, the embattled La Jolla, California private equity advisor, has ’fired’ two key managing directors – David Scopelliti and Tom Keck - following the departures of five other top professionals in recent months.

David Scopelliti and Tom Keck, managing directors at private equity advisory firm Pacific Corporate Group (PCG), have been fired, two sources close to the firm confirmed.

Scopelliti is the former head of private equity at the office of Connecticut’s treasurer. He joined PCG only this past July.

Also forced out of La Jolla, California-based PCG is Tom Keck, who joined the firm during the summer of 2005. Scopelliti and Keck both sat on the firm’s four-person investment committee. They had been held forth as “stabilizing forces” at the turnover-plagued firm, the source said.

The source said the departures of both managing directors relate to ongoing conditions that promoted the recent departures of five other PCG executives. In September, the firm lost Monte Brem, president of the asset management division, as well as managing directors Tara Blackburn, Michael Russell and Stephen Moseley. In November, managing director Michael Underhill left the firm.

David Fann, a former Inflection Equity Partners professional, has assumed Keck’s research leadership responsibilities, a source said. Fann was hired last month.

PCG is led by its founder and chief executive officer, Christopher Bower, who established the firm in 1979. The firm oversees $15 billion in assets, according to its website.

Prior to the recent departures of Scopelliti and Keck, PCG clients the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and the New York State Common Retirement Fund, both reportedly stated they were concerned about turnover at the firm and were monitoring the situation. Oregon recently issued a request-for-proposal in search of a possible replacement for PCG as a private equity advisor.

An October 2 article in Pensions & Investments magazine quoted Kevin Max, a spokesperson for the $57 billion Oregon pension, as saying: “Much of the La Jolla-based PCG’s brain trust and institutional knowledge walked out with those people. . . We are monitoring the situation and keeping our options open.”

A spokesperson for PCG said: “The departure of these two individuals is not expected to have any significant effect on the firm’s business.”