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State of Wisconsin Investment Board director David Villa dies at age 66
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State of Wisconsin Investment Board director David Villa dies at age 66

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The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) executive director and chief investment officer David Villa died Saturday at age 66.

Villa joined SWIB, which manages the $120 billion Wisconsin Retirement System, in 2006 as the chief investment officer and rose to the role of executive director in 2018.

“David provided visionary leadership and the strategic direction to forge a stronger and more certain future for thousands of Wisconsin retirees,” Gov. Tony Evers said.

“SWIB and the State of Wisconsin have lost a visionary leader and a devoted public servant,” board of trustees chair David Stein said.

Villa spent his 15 years at SWIB committed to building the organization and helping the state’s public sector employees “retire in dignity,” Stein said.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside David,” added Stein. “With his talent, he could have gone anywhere, but he cared so much about SWIB’s mission and beneficiaries that he always felt there was more to do and more to accomplish here in Wisconsin. He will be greatly missed.”

The cause of death is not being shared immediately, a SWIB spokesperson said.

The pensions of more than 650,000 current and former employees of state agencies, the university system, school districts and most local governments are funded through the SWIB-managed retirement system. SWIB also invests the assets of the State Investment Fund, University of Wisconsin System Trust Funds, Injured Patient and Families Compensation fund and others.

Villa earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University, a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration, in finance and accounting, from Northwestern University. He worked as the chief investment officer for the State Board of Administration of Florida for more than two years before taking the role at SWIB.

Villa served as a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation and was a member of the accounting group, the 300 Club. He was director and treasurer of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, which is dedicated to helping low-income families work together to build up communities.

While working at SWIB, Villa won awards from publications including Institutional Investor magazine and CIO magazine for innovation and leadership.

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