The State Investment Council’s quest for a new state investment officer in New Mexico concluded without the need for an out-of-state search, as Jon Clark, an Albuquerque native and Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s current deputy secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, emerged as the chosen candidate. He will oversee $49 billion in savings and trust accounts for the state.
Clark, who has been serving as the acting secretary following the departure of Alicia J. Keyes earlier this year, has been offered the prestigious position with an annual salary of $285,000, per the Santa Fe New Mexican. This marks a decrease of approximately $34,000 compared to the previous state investment officer, Steve Moise, who retired in October after a remarkable 13-year tenure.
While there were discussions about the possibility of increasing the salary to attract a qualified replacement, the State Investment Council, chaired by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, did not delve into this issue during a special meeting held on Wednesday.
The council, in a unanimous 8-0 vote, Jon Clark was approved as the next state investment officer, contingent upon the finalization of all administrative processes associated with the hiring requirements for the state of New Mexico.
Following an executive session, council members provided limited comments, indicating that their decision had been predetermined. Catherine Allen, chair of the council’s governance committee, expressed excitement about the appointment, stating, “We’re very excited about the new state investment officer and the process that we used to get them.”
Acknowledging the efforts of Hudepohl and Associates, an Ohio-based executive search firm, Allen extended gratitude for finding “such great candidates” for the position. Clark, among 86 applicants, stood out as one of the 25 individuals meeting the minimum qualifications. After interviewing six candidates, the council narrowed the list down to two finalists, ultimately selecting Clark for the role.
In his cover letter, Clark emphasized his unique qualifications, noting his finance degree and experience in leading venture capital investments. He highlighted his role as Chief Economist for the Legislative Finance Committee, asserting that the position doesn’t demand a traditional investment background but rather requires someone skilled in managerial decision-making with sufficient understanding of the investment landscape.
The next steps include clarifying who will assume leadership at the Economic Development Department if Clark accepts the offered position.