After eight years overseeing Minnesota's investments and bearing responsibility for the retirement benefits of hundreds of thousands of public employees, Mansco Perry III is retiring.

"Maybe the most important person in the state of Minnesota that a lot of people haven't heard about is Mansco Perry," Gov. Tim Walz said. "Our pension funds are as strong as any in the nation, any other state. Our returns outpace the private sector time and time again."

Perry announced Wednesday he will step down in the second half of 2022 from his post as executive director and chief investment officer of the State Board of Investment.

"I got the portfolio in good shape and I'm leaving it in good shape. A lot of my success I attribute to my predecessor," Howard Bicker, Perry said.

The board is responsible for about $128 billion, the bulk of which is pension funds, Perry said. Over the past five years, its investment performance has been better than 95% of similar pension plans, Secretary of State Steve Simon said.

"That is more than just good fortune ... That is leadership," Simon said. "Thank you, not just from me, from everyone in Minnesota whose retirement depends on your good judgment."

Investment board members agreed to create a search committee to find Perry's replacement.