November 25, 2019 – Executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping services provider Heidrick & Struggles recently assisted in the recruitment of Allyson Tucker as the new chief investment officer of the $135 billion Washington State Investment Board (WSIB). Gary Bruebaker is retiring at the end of the year after 40 years in the investment business. Lyndon Taylor, partner in charge of Heidrick’s Chicago office, is leading the assignment.
While both internal and external candidates were considered, Ms. Tucker proved to be the right fit for the role. “We looked carefully at well-qualified and compelling people for this job, and I’m thrilled that Allyson emerged as our top choice amid a very competitive field,” said Theresa Whitmarsh, executive director of WSIB. “She has the vision, energy, experience and intelligence to fill some big shoes being left by Gary Bruebaker, and we are doubly fortunate that she is a familiar and respected professional with our board members, staff and industry peers.”
Ms. Tucker is a 20-year career in the investment management business and has worked at the WSIB since 2009. She currently heads the agency’s risk management and asset allocation team. She is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter holder, a chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), and currently serves on the board and investment committee for the Seattle Foundation as well as the board of Pacific Pension & Investment Institute (PPI).
“I am happy and gratified to see Allyson earn this opportunity,” said Mr. Bruebaker. “I have been privileged to work in public investments for 42 years, and directly with Allyson for the past decade. It will be a real joy to shift into my retirement years with this added degree of pride and confidence.”
The Washington State Investment Board manages investments for 17 retirement plans for public employees, teachers, school employees, law enforcement officers, fire fighters and judges. It also manages investments for several other important public funds that benefit Washington’s industrial insurance program, colleges and universities, and developmental disability programs.
As globalization, change and disruption create many opportunities and risks in the investment management sector, Heidrick & Struggles brings in-depth knowledge and boutique-like qualities across six sector teams: wealth management, asset management, hedge funds, real estate, infrastructure investment, and private equity and venture capital.
Mr. Taylor has more than 17 years of executive search experience. He focuses on leadership search and assessment assignments for executive, functional, product and regional leaders as well as board directors for both publicly-traded and privately-held organizations. In addition, he has been an advisor on leadership and management succession to clients across industries. Mr. Taylor is a member of the firm’s financial services and CEO and board services practices with a focus on the asset management and banking sectors. He previously led the firm’s diversity advisory services practice.
Investment Professionals in Demand
According to recruiters specializing in the function, demand for executive level, “high impact” investing talent has been on the rise, and that demand is expected to soar in coming years. But recruiters say these roles can be generally difficult to develop and ultimately recruit for clients, given their multi-disciplinary and evolving nature. In fact, impact investing roles are new to many organizations, they report.
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“It is no secret that demand for high quality CIOs across the asset allocator spectrum, including endowments and foundations, corporate, public and state plans, has increased significantly over the last five years as expectations regarding performance has ratcheted up post financial crisis,” said David Barrett, managing partner of David Barrett Partners, a boutique specialist search firm which recruits senior and C-level professionals for the investment and wealth management sector.
“Recruiting top talent in our space has always been challenging and, even with the ongoing advances in technology and proliferation of third-party candidate databases, it will not get easier,” said Mr. Barrett. He noted that pay was a key factor; successful professionals are paid well throughout the sector, he opined, giving little incentive or reason for them to consider moves elsewhere.
“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the challenge for recruiters in this space will be to demonstrate they have the relationships, market credibility, and industry knowledge to not just serve up candidates, but to deliver the right candidates,” he said.
“Demand for CIOs in alternatives, especially real assets, is on the rise as firms take the lead from investors increasingly seeking assets with lower correlation to the stock and bond markets and higher returns,” said Maria de Rossi, a partner at Odgers Berndtson, who specializes in financial services with a focus on alternative asset management, investment banking and private equity.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media