Harrigan Moved Aside at CalPERS

December 1, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - As expected, California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) President Sean Harrigan was pushed aside Wednesday after Harrigan charged publicly that the fund's recent efforts to pressure companies into a variety of corporate governance reforms was motivating his enemies' ouster efforts.

The California Personnel Board voted 3 to 2 to send Ron Alvarado, a real estate developer and Republican, to the fund’s Board as its CalPERS representative replacing Harrigan, a 57- year-old Democrat., according to news reports. Alvarado’s term begins January 1.

One of the three votes against Harrigan came from Anne Sheehan, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy director of finance. A second vote came from political consultant Maeley Tom, a Democrat appointed by former Governor Gray Davis. The third vote against Harrigan came from Alvarado, who was appointed to the board by former Governor Pete Wilson.

The Personnel Board has one of the 13 CalPERS seats and Harrigan is one of the five members of the Personnel Board. He was appointed to the board by former Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, and selected to represent the board at CalPERS in 2000.

The fund is expected to tap a new president in February. The CalPERS president sets the agenda for the board’s monthly meetings, oversees deliberations and appoints committee members. The president, who doesn’t vote except to break a tie, represents CalPERS to outside organizations.

Harrigan claimed this week in media interviews that CalPERS corporate activism in issues such as more directly tying corporate executive compensation to performance led to his being replaced. (See CalPERS’ Harrigan: I’m Being Ousted ).