James Burton


“Jim's contributions to CalPERS as an organization, and to our Board, have been exceptional. He has been an outstanding CEO, a motivating leader, and a great consensus builder. He has given 100 percent of his time, energy and focus to creating the excellent organization we have today. His departure leaves a large void, which will be challenging to fill.” - William D. Crist, President, Board of Administration, CalPERS

Jim Burton’s strong background in global markets and public finance, gained over a 30-year financial career in both the public and private sectors, provides California Strategies’ clients expert perspective on complex financial and business activities and issues.

Prior to joining California Strategies, Burton expanded the global investment market in gold while serving as Chief Executive of the World Gold Council, a marketing, research, and advocacy firm established by the world’s leading gold mining companies. He led the development of the first gold-backed Exchange Traded Fund, which gained listing on New York, London, and 12 other national stock exchanges, achieving a market value of over $60 billion. He also introduced research and advocacy initiatives focused on removing barriers to investment in gold.

Burton’s career in government was capped by his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) from 1994 to 2002. Under his leadership, the $100 billion portfolios were expanded into new asset classes, and greater investor-owner influence was asserted with domestic and international underperforming portfolio holdings. He also served as Co-Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors and First Vice President of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.


  • Burton also served as:
    Deputy State Controller of California, where he advised the State Controller on fiscal, tax-exempt debt and pension policy
  • Deputy California State Treasurer for pension policy and Executive Director of the Pooled Money Investment Board in the State Treasurer’s Office
  • Executive Director of the California Commission on State Finance, and
  • Deputy Chief of Staff to the California Governor.


Burton currently is a member of the Board of Governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and chairs its audit committee. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Governance for Owners, a London based mid-cap value investment fund. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of San Francisco.

Governmental Affairs and Shareholder Strategies
Business and Government Issue Management
Issues-Management Campaigns


Insurance & Financial Services
Public Private Partnerships
Public Sector Finance & Budgeting
Career Highlights
Chief Executive Officer, World Gold Council
Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS
Deputy State Controller
Deputy State Treasurer
Executive Director, Pooled Money Investment Board
Executive Director, Commission on State Finance
Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor

Contact James Burton