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Economou to step down at Switzerland's CERN next year

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Théodore Economou, chief executive and CIO at the CHF4bn (€3.3bn) European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) Pension Fund, has confirmed he will not seek re-appointment to his current position, whose tenure ends in August 2015.

Economou said he would stay on as chief executive at CERN for the next 14 months and that he expected to be involved in the selection of his successor.

He is currently serving his second three-year term as CIO.

“I was brought in [at CERN] in 2009 with a clear mission, which has now been successfully accomplished,” he told IPE.

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“My mission was create a portfolio that could deliver the highest possible return relative to the risk acceptable to CERN. 

“We now have a risk-based approach that is designed to deliver just that – i.e. the smoothest possible path towards CERN’s objective.”

He said he had initially set out to accomplish this task in three years during his first mandate, but that, “due to the complexity of having representatives of 20 countries and some 15 groups of stakeholders”, it took him four years in the end.

Economou said he was considering setting up an investment consultancy with a strategy based on the “CERN model”, and that he would decide on his next move some time this year.

Last month, the industry veteran was appointed chairman of the investment committee at the pension fund for Switzerland-based Lombard Odier, which cited Economou’s experience in setting risk budgets as “a valuable complement.”

He also serves on the $58.4bn (€43bn) Virginia Retirement System’s investment advisory committee.

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