State hires a new investment chief

Mansco Perry III answers questions from the State Board of Investment after his hiring as executive director. (MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire)

The state agency responsible for more than $68 billion worth of public assets is getting a new leader.

Mansco Perry III was introduced today as the next executive director of the Minnesota State Board of Investment. Perry is currently chief investment officer at Macalester College in St. Paul.  He will succeed Howard Bicker, who retires next month after more than three decades on the job. He will oversee the investment management of public retirement funds, trust funds, and cash accounts.

Perry previously served as the agency’s assistant executive director, under Bicker, and was also chief  investment officer of the Maryland State Retirement Agency. Appearing before the top state officials who make up the State Board of Investment, Perry said his Minnesota experienced served him well in Maryland.

“After I had been at Maryland for a while, they called it ‘Minnesota Light,’ because I brought the same disciplines that we honed at the State Board of Investment,” Perry said.

The hiring followed a six-month nationwide search. State Auditor Rebecca Otto, a member of the board, was pleased with the results.

“I think we’re incredibly fortunate to have a candidate of such caliber to step forward,” Otto said.

Perry will be well compensated for his new state job. Gov. Mark Dayton, who chairs the board, recommended an annual salary for Perry of $325,000. Dayton called it a reasonable amount.

“He’s making at Macalester now $319,000,” Dayton said. “You can’t expect him to come over here for less. So, I think it’s appropriate. It’s a lot of money, but that’s the nature of that line of work.”