NEW YORK – The TIAA-CREF (search) pension fund on Tuesday said it had granted Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Monrad an unpaid leave of absence after learning she may face a Securities and Exchange Commission (search) lawsuit related to her prior employment at reinsurer General Re Corp. (search)
The New York-based pension fund said Monrad received a "Wells notice" from SEC staff. Such a notice indicates the SEC staff has found possible infractions, and gives the recipient a chance to respond.
Monrad requested the leave, which was made final on Tuesday, TIAA-CREF spokeswoman Stephanie Cohen Glass said.
Investigators are examining a 2000 reinsurance contract involving Stamford, Conn.-based General Re that helped insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) improperly increase its reserves by $500 million. Citing an unnamed source, the New York Times said the SEC notice to Monrad concerns her role in altering paperwork for that transaction.
General Re is owned by Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA) (BRKB), the holding company controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett (search). Berkshire has said Buffett didn't know AIG might use the transaction improperly.
General Re did not immediately return calls seeking comment. SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment. Monrad could not immediately be reached.
According to published reports, the SEC on May 2 also issued a Wells notice to Richard Napier (search), a senior vice president at General Re, related to the AIG transaction.
Berkshire last Friday disclosed that Wells notice, but did not name the executive who received it.
Monrad joined TIAA-CREF in July 2003 from General Re, where she was CFO and a member of its executive committee and board of directors. In 1999, the Association of Professional Insurance Women named her Insurance Woman of the Year.
Russell Noles, a TIAA-CREF vice president of internal audit, will serve as acting CFO. Arlen Copenhaver, an associate auditor, will take over Noles' audit job on an acting basis. TIAA-CREF oversees more than $340 billion in assets.