Joseph A. Dear: June 7, 1951 to February 26, 2014

Joe Dear

Joe Dear

Joseph Dear, a politically savvy chief investment officer who helped steer CalPERS through the aftermath of the stock market crash and a bribery scandal, died Wednesday of prostate cancer. (CalPERS chief investment officer dies, Sacramento Bee, 2/26/2014)

Joe Dear, the former head of the Washington State Investment Board and past Chief of Staff for Washington State Governor Gary Locke, has died of prostate cancer at the age of 62. (Former Washington State Investment Board chief Joe Dear dies at 62, GeekWire, 2/27/2014)

In his five years overseeing the investments of Calpers, Mr. Dear embraced a risky investment philosophy that proved successful in restoring the pension fund’s assets to above their level before the crisis, when they fell by more than a fourth… committed more money to illiquid investment strategies, including private equity and hedge funds, betting that these would help the pension fund achieve returns superior to those available in the public markets. (New York Times, 2/27/2014)

Under his leadership the fund most recently posted a 16.2% return for calendar year 2013, 140 basis points above its policy benchmark. Its three-year annualized return was 10%, 20 basis points above its benchmark. (Pensions&Investments, 2/27/2014)

CalPERS CIO and a regular guest on CNBC, Joe Dear has lost his battle with prostate cancer and died at the age of 62. Dear is credited with rebuilding the biggest U.S. public pension after a $96 billion loss. (CNBC, 2/27/2014)

Joe led by example and held numerous important positions at the State of Washington and with the federal government. But most of all, I will always remember Joe’s love of the mountains in Washington. He grew up in the East but, as a college student, once he set eyes on Mount Rainier, he was forever smitten. (Christopher J. Ailman of CalSTRS)

We stopped in Sacramento for what I can sheepishly admit was originally a plan to kill time, interviewing a man we knew little about: Joseph Dear, the chief investment officer of CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund. We didn’t think we’d get much good material out of Dear; we’d had poor success interviewing public officials in the past, as they offer dry, scripted answers. But Dear surprised us. He shocked us, actually. He was as funny as he was wise, as humble as he was brilliant. He ended up being our favorite interview of the trip. (TheMotleyFool)

“He was a metrics guy, a straight shooter. He was very dedicated to whatever he was doing,” said Marty Brown, who served with Mr. Dear in the Locke administration as legislative director and deputy chief of staff with Mr. Dear… “Joe’s one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever worked with, and I’ll miss him,” said Anne Stausboll, CalPERS chief executive, in a statement released by the pension fund. “CalPERS is a stronger organization, and all of us are better people for having known and worked with him.” (The Seattle Times)

I had a chance to chat with Joe several times at various conferences and wish I had gotten to know him better. We discussed the possibility of setting up a guest speaker program at CalPERS like he had done at the Washington State Investment Board. He accomplished so much in such a short life: co-founded People for Fair Taxes, Research Director of the Washington State Labor Council, Deputy Secretary of Labor over OSHA, Chief of Staff to Washington State’s Gary Locke, Executive Director of WSIB, Chair of CII, Chair of SEC-IAC and CIO at CalPERS. My heart goes out to all who knew and will miss him.

Dear’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Spirit Church, 3159 Land Park Drive, Sacramento. A reception at the Sutter Club is planned immediately after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Joseph A. Dear Memorial Scholarship Endowment at The Evergreen State College Foundation.


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