Risk & Compliance

Calpers Names New President

Rob Feckner will succeed Sean Harrigan, who faced outside criticism for his strong activist activities.
Stephen TaubFebruary 18, 2005

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) named Rob Feckner as its new president.

Feckner succeeds Sean Harrigan, who led the retirement system since 2003 and who faced outside criticism for his strong activist activities, including his push to oust Walt Disney Co. chairman and chief executive officer Michael Eisner. Under Harrigan’s leadership, Calpers also led a campaign to withhold votes from directors at 2,400 companies — including even Warren Buffett, who sits on the board of the Coca-Cola Co.

Feckner, however, insists he won’t back off from his predecessor’s proclivities, according to the Associated Press. He promises to combat large executive pay packages and publish a list of companies that underperform over the long term. “One thing should be abundantly clear to corporate wrongdoers who are hurting shareholder value,” Feckner reportedly stated. “We will not retreat from our fiduciary duty to protect our share owners’ interest.”

According to the AP, Feckner also vowed to fight California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to privatize the state public pension systems. He called that proposal the “biggest challenge” facing the fund, the wire service reported.

Feckner was first elected to the Calpers board in 1998; he has been board vice president and chairman of the investment committee for the past two years. His background is as a glazing specialist for the Napa Valley Unified School District. Feckner is also a member of the statewide board of directors of the California School Employees Association following 15 years as a local chapter president.