CalPERS Selects Real Assets Investment Manager for New ESG Role

Appointee viewed as key architect of sustainable investment guidelines for previous department.

The $348 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has created a new position with a focus on its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) affairs.

Over the next month, Beth Richtman will transition from her investment manager role in the fund’s Real Assets program to managing investment director of the Sustainable Investment Program, CalPERS announced Thursday.

“Beth’s diverse background, exceptional quantitative skills, and practical experience with sustainable investing make her a perfect fit to serve as the Investment Office’s leader for sustainability and ESG,” Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS CIO, said in a statement.

In her new role, Richtman will manage the integration of ESG factors and transform them into investment decisions across the total fund. She will also oversee external collaboration efforts. To aid her transition, Richtman’s responsibilities will be divided among her team members until a replacement is named.

Richtman’s tenure with CalPERS began in 2012 and she has managed a $7 billion-plus portfolio of domestic infrastructure and real estate assets. The fund values her as a “key architect” of the Sustainable Investment Practice Guidelines for Real Assets. She spearheaded the Energy Optimization Initiative, which advances energy use and sourcing across the fund’s $30.7 billion real estate portfolio.

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