Director-recruitment drive

California Public Employees’ Retirement System is recruiting a long list of executives

Max Whittaker/Reuters

It’s the investing equivalent of going to the bullpen. The $200-billion pension fund of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, is recruiting a long list of executives who can be called on to serve on the boards of corporations in which the fund holds stakes.

The database of pre-screened individuals coincides with legislative efforts to give investors more influence over the boards of U.S. companies, a Calpers spokesperson told Maclean’s.

At present, mounting a shareholder campaign to install a new board member can cost outsiders millions in legal, printing and mailing fees. But a regulatory overhaul still being debated by lawmakers aims to make waging proxy battles cheaper—and, ultimately, directors more accountable—by forcing companies to foot some of the bill. And Calpers, like a baseball coach in the dugout, will need only a single phone call to start the ball rolling.