Calpers Chief Calls for Grasso’s Head

I love Jim Murphy. He’s this crusty Dow Jones writer who does a 5:15am cameo on CNBC every morning (he looks like Hemingway would have had he lived long enough to become a doughy grandfather).

Murphy’s piece this morning (7:30 am) was titled, “They Come Not To Praise Caesar.” Its about today’s afternoon Calper’s announcement:

In politics, there’s nothing wrong with kicking a guy when he’s down. Particularly if he never gets back up and you get credit for delivering the coup de grace.

So it will come to pass that at 2:00 p.m. EDT, which is 11:00 a.m. local time, Phil, and Sean and Jack will hold a press conference at the California State Treasurer’s Officer.Phil is Phil Angelides, the State Treasurer. Sean is Sean Harrigan, president of the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers ).

Calpers is the largest public pension fund in the United States. Jack is Jack Ehnes, who is the CEO of the third-largest public pension fund in the U.S., the California State Teachers Retirement System.

I am in possession of a one-page press release about the press conference, which was faxed to the Dow Jones Newsroom late Monday from Treasurer Angelides’ office. The subject of the new conference, and I quote, “Treasurer Angelides, Chief of California’s Pension Funds, To Make Announcement Regarding Richard Grasso’s Leadership of NYSE.”

None of us need possess any prescience at all to know that the Three Musketeers will most likely be calling on Mr. Grasso to resign as head of the New York Stock Exchange.

Inasmuch as Messrs. Angelides, Harrigan, and Ehnes have a direct say in the investment of more than $200 billion of pension fund moneys, much of that in the shares of NYSE-traded stock, their call for Mr. Grasso’s resignation may turn out to be decisive.

I just watched the Calper’s announcement; Murphy was dead right. The odds of Grasso’s tenure lasting beyond 2003 just dropped to about 10% . . .

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