In its ongoing drive toward fixing what it believes are the New York Stock Exchange’s most serious problems, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the nation’s top public pension fund, has nominated former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt and current Relational Investors LLC executive Ralph Whitworth to the Big Board’s board.

The nominations come three-and-a-half months after CalPERS filed a $154-million class-action lawsuit against the stock exchange, and seven investment firms in particular, for defrauding its customers. CalPERS has about $60 billion invested in the NYSE.

In his letter to the NYSE, CalPERS President Sean Harrigan said that while at the SEC, Levitt always placed investor protection above all else. "Throughout his tenure at the Commission, Chairman Levitt worked to educate, empower, and protect America’s investors.

Of Whitworth, a principal at the $2.3 billion strategic block investment firm Relational Investors, Harrigan said, "His hands-on experience has given him a unique understanding of the business environment and has earned him the respect of the business community." CalPERS said that neither Levitt nor Whitworth are in a relationship with the company. Neither has commented on the nominations.

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