UNITED STATES - Russ Blackwell, chief executive of CalEast Global Logistics, has resigned as head of the company but is staying on with the company until the end of the year.

CalEast is the owner of one of the largest industrial portfolios in the United States, and was created through a joint venture with the California Public Employees Retirement System and LaSalle Investment Management.

Blackwell has been responsible for expanding CalEast from a $300m (€205.9m) entity over the past nine years to its peak at $6bn, however he is now thought to be leaving to start his own investment firm in 2010.

In 2008, CalPERS had awarded a new allocation of $300m to the investment programme but no new capital has so far been given to CalEast this year.

CalEast invests in industrial assets in the eastern half of the US, as well as in Europe, Canada and Mexico.

CalPERS had priced the fair market value of CalEast as worth $3.76bn by the end of March 2009. This portfolio represents 41.9% of the pension fund's core real estate portfolio, which stands at $9bn.

CalEast saw investment returns of 0.4% in the last quarter, -4.5% over one-year, but maintained a positive 14.3% over five years and 13.1% since inception. CalPERS created the CalEast venture in April 1998.