Gov. Sean Parnell has appointed Larry Hartig to a seat on the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s Board of Trustees, helping oversee management of the state's $34 billion savings account.
Hartig, of Anchorage, is commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and holds one of two seats on the board of trustees designated for commissioners.
Hartig called the position "an interesting challenge."
The fund has had significant losses in the past year, with the fund's total falling from more than $40 billion to less than $28 billion earlier this year, before rebounding to its current level.
Hartig said he already has been reading through the minutes of the last year's meetings to prepare himself for his new position. Also coming is a daylong briefing by corporation staff in Juneau and detailed policy discussions.
Hartig's first meeting as a commissioner will be at the board's early December meeting in Anchorage.
Among the immediate issues to cope with is the current economy, he said.
"It's how you can maintain your long-term vision and goals for the trust, and building its assets and weather the current financial conditions," he said.
Hartig acknowledged that he had no special financial or investment experience or expertise on the scale of the permanent fund, but said he has a fair amount of general business background.
Prior to becoming a commissioner, he served as an environmental permitting lawyer and was a partner in one of the state's top law firms.
There, he said, he helped manage the firm's assets and prepared and reviewed financial reports. And as an attorney, Hartig said he represented clients in large commercial transactions and handled due diligence reviews on business developments and tax and financing proposals.
"Most of my practice was environmental law, but that was a piece of it, too," he said.
"Commissioner Hartig was appointed because of his thoughtfulness, trustworthiness, and intellect," said Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Parnell.
She said Parnell chose him "as a cabinet member who would rise to this occasion, quickly learning the issues and processes, and being able to contribute to the group."
Hartig has a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and received his law degree from Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. He is a member of the Alaska Bar Association and a former member of the State Board of Forestry.
Hartig replaces Emil Notti, commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development.
Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Notti asked to be removed from the board because of his extensive time commitments on as many as 23 other boards for which he is responsible to serve or supervise.
Contact reporter Pat Forgeyat 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.