CalPERS President Who Helped Strip Eisner of Disney Chair is Ousted

Dec 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The top executive of one of the country’s largest employee pension funds–a major critic of The Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner–was ousted from his post Wednesday and replaced by a man viewed as more friendly to corporate America.

Sean Harrigan, who became an outspoken critic of Mr. Eisner and was a key player in the campaign to strip Mr. Eisner of his Disney chairman title last March, was voted out Wednesday as president of the $177 billion California Public Employees Retirement System by the California state personnel board in a 3-2 vote.

Mr. Harrigan, who had been president since February 2003 and a board member since 2000, will be replaced Jan. 1 by Ron Alvarado, a CalPERS VP viewed in many circles as more pro-business than his predecessor.

Mr. Harrigan, who is also a top official with a major food workers union, has drawn fire in recent months for driving CalPERS to take positions that have angered several corporations have been seen as anti-business and have led some critics to argue the focus on corporate governance has turned the fund’s focus away from maximizing investments.

Despite Mr. Harrigan’s ouster, officials at CalPERS maintain that their activism, along with their efforts to bolster corporate governance, will continue unabated.