By David G. Barry
Gabrielle “Ellie” Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO of investment firm Manna Tree Partners, is one of two new board members of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC). She also is the daughter of David Rubenstein, co-chair of the Carlyle Group, which over the past 17 years has received commitments from APFC for a series of its funds.
Rubenstein and Jason Brune, an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, were appointed to the six-person board by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. A state-owned corporation formed to manage a portion the revenue coming from oil production, APFC had $79.5 billion in assets under management as of May 31.
Manna Tree is focused on improving human health by transforming the food supply chain for healthier outcomes. It closed its first fund in March 2020 at $141.5 million. APFC is not an investor in the fund.
Although Manna Tree is based in Vail, Colo., Rubenstein has been a resident of Alaska for the last decade, according to a statement by Dunleavy’s office. Her family has been connected to Alaska for more than 20 years, owing to the fact that her mother, Alice Rogoff, was for a period the owner of the Alaska Dispatch News, now known as the Anchorage Daily News.
In a statement, Rubenstein called APFC a “globally recognized sophisticated investor” and said she is “humbled and honored to serve on the board.”
APFC, according to information it provided to the Anchorage Daily News, has invested $381 million in seven Carlyle Group funds, most recently putting $25 million into a fund that Carlyle raised in 2020. It also has invested a total of $445 million in funds raised by NGP and Sciens – two firms that APFC said Carlyle either owned outright or has significant equity stakes in.
Rubenstein, according to Dunleavy’s office, has no investment or ownership Carlyle or related companies. Alaska’s ethics and disclosure laws bar board members from acting on matters in which they have personal or commercial interests, or which may lead to financial gains for themselves or family members.
Rubenstein joins a board that has been under scrutiny because of firing late last year of CEO Angela Rodell. The board has not explained the decision and Rodell has blamed it on “political retribution” by Dunleavy’s appointees. She had been advising the state legislature to spend less of the fund than Dunleavy had sought.
Rubenstein is replacing William “Bill” Moran, who retired after 16 years of service. Moran was the only board member to vote against replacing Rodell. He also was the lone trustee who was not appointed or reappointed by Dunleavy. Rodell recently joined On Pepper LLC, a New York-based asset management technology platform, as a senior advisor.