Former CalPERS Exec Being Eyed for Accounting Board

October 18, 2002 ( - Kayla Gillan, former general counsel of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), is reportedly on a list of potential appointments to the new federal accounting oversight board.

The Sacramento Bee, quoting people who have worked with Gillan, reported that US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Harvey Pitt is “looking seriously” at the attorney.

Gillan’s business associates and former CalPERS colleagues suggest that Pitt is considering Gillan because of her ability to achieve consensus even when faced with disparate interests.

“That’s one of her star qualities,” Ted White, CalPERS’ director of corporate governance, told the Bee.

Gillan built a reputation as an expert in public pension, trust and securities law, taking the agency’s top legal job in 1996. In the post, she also had to face down criticism.

Throughout her CalPERS tenure, colleagues say, she gained a reputation as a corporate reformer who was instrumental in helping design governance principles, according to the Bee story.

The 43-year-old Gillan left CalPERS in August to become vice president of Independent Fiduciary Services, a Washington, DC, firm that serves public and private trusts. See Seismic Shifts Ahead for CalPERS?

John Biggs, CEO of the giant Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund, was said to be a leading candidate for chairmanship of the board. But later, Pitt said publicly that no candidate had been offered a post.

Besides Gillan, others whose names have surfaced nationally include Susan Philips, dean of the George Washington University business school, and New York Rep. John LaFalce, senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, the Bee reported.

With 450 nominees to date, Gillan will have to contend with stiff competition and a politically charged atmosphere. Pitt is slated to announce board members by October 28.