Mitchell, 50, is leaving the nation’s third largest public pension fund after twelve years, the last three as investment chief. During his tenure, he developed and implemented strategies for overall asset allocation of the $113.6 billion fund. The fund gained 18.3% in 1999, the fifth consecutive year of double-digit returns.
Mitchell announced his decision before commencing his job search. A CalSTRS spokeswoman said Mitchell is looking for an executive position at a private equity firm and wanted to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
The recruitment of a successor will be discussed at the May 3 meeting of the CalSTRS board, the spokeswoman, Sherry Reser, said.
CalSTRS hired Mitchell in March 1988 to manage their $20 billion fixed income portfolio, before expanding his role in 1993 as Director of Fixed Income and Equity Investments. He was named CIO in 1997, when the fund had less than $75 billion in assets. He is responsible for a staff of 46.
Mitchell’s decision comes on the heels of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) investment chief Sheryl Pressler’s January decision to join Lend Lease Real Estate Investments as Chief Executive Officer.