Breaking News: Rhode Island Picks Retired CalPERS’ Executive as New CIO

By David G. Barry

The State of Rhode Island has a new chief investment officer: a retired California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) executive who went to college in the Ocean State.

Eric Baggesen began overseeing the state’s $10.5 billion Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) on July 25, said Benjamin Smith, director of communications for the Office of Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state began looking for a new CIO in May after Andrew Junkin was selected as the new CIO of the $101.8 billion Virginia Retirement System (VRS). Junkin joined Rhode Island two years ago after being president of Wilshire Consulting.

Baggesen, who earned both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA from the University of Rhode Island, retired from CalPERS in December 2020 after 16 years with the $440 billion pension fund. He spent the last seven years of that time as managing investment director of asset allocation. In his LinkedIn profile, he said that in that role, he led the team responsible for the overall asset allocation of the CalPERS investment portfolio.

Previously at CalPERS, Baggesen was senior investment officer, global equities, leading a team with 50 professionals managing $123 billion of assets. His background also includes roles with State Street Global Advisors, PanAgora Asset Management, Normal L. Barnett & Co., and Brown & Sharpe.