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US: Jay Chaudhuri to head $3 trillion pension funds group

By Aziz Haniffa
July 02, 2014 19:06 IST
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Jyoti ‘Jay’ Chaudhuri, general counsel and senior adviser to the state treasurer of the US state of North Carolina, was elected chairman of the board of the Council of Institutional Investors, last month.

Chaudhuri, who had been co-chair, succeeds Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

CII is a non-profit association of pension funds, other employee benefit funds, endowments and foundations with combined assets of over $3 trillion.

“I am excited to lead the council for the next year, and I look forward to carrying out the organization’s goal of advocating for effective corporate governance,” Chaudhuri told

“Ultimately, better board accountability leads to better value for both companies and long-term investors. This also preserves and strengthens investor confidence in the integrity of our markets.”

He pledged that during his term the council would place additional emphasis on educating members.

“We plan to launch a pilot program for council members called Corporate Governance 101 in conjunction with our fall meeting in Los Angeles,” Chaudhuri added.

Ann Yerger, executive director, CII, said that the council “valued Jay’s knowledge of the issues, his strong leadership and commitment to effective corporate governance.”

Chaudhuri, who serves as general counsel and senior policy advisor to North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, manages the $86 billion pension fund, the $12 billion state bank, $8 billion defined contribution plan, and $500 million unclaimed property program.

He also manages all legal and corporate governance matters.

“Jay Chaudhuri has been invaluable as General Counsel of the North Carolina Treasurer's Office,” Cowell said.

“Jay possesses a unique combination of talents and attributes -- he is strategic, creative, publicly minded, collaborative and worldly."

Before being elected chair of CII, Chaudhuri chaired the Council’s strategic subcommittee that recommended a focus on education by developing specialised training programs for professionals with an interest in corporate governance.

Chaudhuri was special counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

In that capacity he developed major policy initiatives.

He also served as co-counsel for the national multi-state investigation of the two largest social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook. 

Recently, Chaudhuri helped negotiate an agreement between 49 state Attorneys General and MySpace.

The agreement resulted in dozens of website changes and the creation of an industry-wide task force to create online safety tools headed by Harvard University’s Berkman Centre for Internet & Society.

For his efforts, the National Association of Attorneys General honoured him with the Marvin Award.

Chaudhuri also drafted the state wide strategy to combat methamphetamine and helped pass a legislation that resulted in a 40 per cent drop in meth lab busts.

He helped develop a school safety response kit, which has been identified by the United States Department of Education as one of only three ‘promising practices’ in the country.

After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2006, he managed the Attorney General’s Campus Safety Task Force and drafted the task force report.

Chaudhuri also served as an adjunct law professor at North Carolina Central University, where he taught a cyber crime and law class.

Chaudhuri graduated from DavidsonCollege with a major in South Asian Studies, earned a masters degree from ColumbiaUniversity through a Jacob K Javits Fellowship, and received his law degree from North CarolinaCentralUniversity.

After graduate school, Chaudhuri served as a legislative aide to United States Senator Russell D Feingold. He also serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Institutional Investors Forum.

He is married to Sejal Mehta, a former prosecutor with the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

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Aziz Haniffa