MA Begins Search for New Pension Head

June 2, 2010 ( – The board of Massachusetts’ pension fund has named an interim executive director and launched a search for a new leader.

The Boston Globe reports that executive director Michael Travaglini officially announced that he will leave on June 11 to work for a hedge fund. Travaglini announced last week that he would step down, partially over concerns about legislative efforts to curb bonuses (see MA Pension Fund Head Quits over Efforts to Curb Bonuses).  

The board voted to make one of Travaglini’s deputies, Karen Gershman, interim chief during the search.  

According to the Globe, pension board member Robert Brousseau said the fund will post the pension job on its Web site, rather than pay a recruiter $100,000 to hunt for people as it did previously. The board plans to present its recommendation for a permanent executive director in August.  

Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, chairman of the pension board, admitted the job’s pay has historically been an issue. “It’s a challenge to get people to move to Massachusetts because of the high cost of living,’’ he said, according to the news report. “I think it’s a very good, solid, fair salary, but if you’re coming from other public pension funds or the private sector, it’s a challenge to break into this market.’’   

Cahill said Travaglini “has done a fantastic job of helping guide this board’’ during good and bad times. While the fund fared poorly during the market’s collapse in 2008-2009, it was in the top 10% of all pension funds over the past seven years, the Globe noted.