Minnesota goes with known hand to steer $68B portfolio

Published 10:30 am Thursday, September 12, 2013

ST. PAUL — After a national search, Minnesota officials turned to a hometown candidate and known hand to steer the state’s $68 billion investment portfolio.

By unanimous vote, the State Board of Investment selected Mansco Perry III on Wednesday to be executive director — the first in more than three decades. Perry served for many years as a deputy in the office and most recently managed the endowment at St. Paul’s Macalester College. He replaces former boss Howard Bicker, who is retiring next month.

Perry was the sole finalist interviewed publicly by the board, which comprises the governor, attorney general, state auditor and secretary of state. The search started with 55 candidates from the public and private sectors and was whittled down through several stages. Minnesota contracted with an executive search firm and paid about $100,000 for the personnel hunt.

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It’s the first new face at the top since 1981, when Bicker took over what was then a $6 billion fund. The state has averaged a 10 percent annual return during his tenure.

In bidding farewell at Wednesday’s board meeting, Bicker said he tried to chart a steady course for a fund made up of public worker pension accounts and other state holdings.