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TIAA CEO Ferguson, a Potential Biden Appointee, to Retire

Michael McDonald and Taylor Riggs
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- TIAA Chief Executive Officer Roger Ferguson, a contender to join President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet, plans to retire from the investment giant.

Ferguson, 69, will lead the organization through March, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

“As we look ahead to a post-pandemic world, the next steps we take will be critical to our long-term mission,” Ferguson, one of the most prominent Black executives in finance, said in the statement. “I am absolutely convinced -- and the board agrees -- that now is the time to select the next CEO who can continue, enhance and drive our strategy for the next decade and beyond.”

Ferguson was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors from 1999 to 2006 and has been mentioned as a possible candidate to become Treasury secretary in the Biden administration, Bloomberg reported in September. The former vice president wants to make a historic choice for the job that has always been held by a White man.

While Ferguson is seen as a contender for Treasury, his experience running a huge asset manager also qualifies him for other positions in Biden’s government, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he would be the first African American chairman.

Biden isn’t expected to announce high-ranking cabinet nominees until next week. Other candidates for Treasury include Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Ferguson’s planned departure earlier Tuesday.

He said he’s leaving after completing initiatives to grow TIAA and diversify its assets and revenue, according to an internal email seen by Bloomberg. The firm, which manages more than $1 trillion, has expanded from its roots in investing for teacher retirement, for instance acquiring mutual fund company Nuveen Investments in 2014.

Ferguson’s wife, Annette Nazareth, is also retiring from her job as a law partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. That could potentially protect Ferguson from tough questions he might face during Senate confirmation hearings from progressive Democratic lawmakers about her legal work representing big banks, stock exchanges and trading firms.

A former Democratic SEC commissioner, Nazareth, 64, now leads Davis Polk’s trading and markets practice. She announced her plans to step down a year ago internally and will leave the law firm Dec. 31, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

(Updates with wife’s retirement in ninth paragraph)

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