trustee is leaving his post for a past relationship with the company's past auditor, Ernst & Young
During a search for a new auditor last month, Professor Martin J. Gruber
, trustee of the College Retirement Equities Fund and the TIAA-CREF Funds, notified the boards and committees undertaking the search that he entered into a contract with Ernst & Young in 1999.
Gruber was to participate in an Ernst & Young program to organize conferences based on participants' academic specialties. The program was ended before it was launched and Gruber's contract ended in 2000.
According to a news release, the boards and committees determined that there was no wrongdoing on Gruber's part, but he has decided to step down, regardless.
The move was likely preemptive. TIAA-CREF is already in hot water for two other trustees and their relationship with Ernst & Young. The trustees, William Waltrip and Stephen Ross, resigned in November 2004 after Ernst & Young discovered information about a joint venture between the company and the trustees. In December, TIAA-CREF disclosed that the SEC had begun an informal investigation over the Ernst & Young relationship.
TIAA-CREF also announced on Thursday that it had selected PricewaterhouseCoopers as its new independent auditor.
Gruber is a banking and finance professor at New York University and the author of many papers on the mutual fund and 401(k) industry.
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