Illinois State Board of Investment taps its CIO as leader

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Johara Farhadieh will become executive director of the Illinois State Board of Investment following longtime leader Bill Atwood's resignation at the end of June.

Farhadieh, an 11-year veteran of at the pension fund, has served as its chief investment officer for just over two years. She will maintain her responsibilities as CIO as she takes up the executive director role, according to a news release from the board.

She has been with the fund since 2007, when she came on board as a portfolio officer overseeing investments with minority and emerging investment managers. She was appointed CIO in March 2016.

"Johara is a natural leader and instinctively puts the fund first," ISBI Chairman Marc Levine said in the statement issued Thursday.

The Illinois State Board of Investment is the state's fourth-biggest pension fund, with $18.3 billion under management in its defined benefit plan. The plan has 142,500 beneficiaries, and invests on behalf of the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois, Judges’ Retirement System of Illinois, the General Assembly Retirement System of Illinois and the Illinois Power Agency.

Atwood led the fund for 15 years. The board announced his resignation on June 29.

Farhadieh said in the statement that she would expand the board’s modernization efforts to include diversity and responsible investing initiatives.

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