Putnam to Succeed Bennett As New Harvard Treasurer
George Putnam '49, an active Harvard Overseer and Boston financial magnate, will succeed George F. Bennett '33 as the University's Treasurer on July 1.
Compared to his predecessor, Putnam is considered to be more liberal, both in terms of his financial philosophy and his personal political viewpoints.
As the 27th Treasurer, Putnam will supervise Harvard's $1.4 billion of investments and have the strongest voice in determining how the University votes its shares in proxy fights. Putnam will be a member of both the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers.
Putnam will be the first Harvard Treasurer to devote most of his time to managing the University's accounts. Previous Treasurers generally held full-time jobs as financiers on top of their Harvard duties.
Putnam will continue part-time in his current position as chairman of the Putnam Management Company, a Boston investment firm.
The selection of Putnam marks an unusual end to the nine-month search for a new Treasurer: Putnam himself was a member of the search committee that chose him.
Putnam said yesterday that he had originally disqualified himself as a candidate for the post when his name was first suggested last October. He said that the search committee probably held informal meetings--without telling him--at which his name was discussed.
The first decision which Putnam will have to consider is a reorganization of Harvard's investment management. Along with the other Corporation members, he must choose among several alternative methods for investing Harvard's billion-dollar endowment.
Three alternatives are currently being discussed:
* Harvard could continue with the present system, having one outside investment firm manage the day-to-day investment operation;
* The University could give a part of the endowment to several investment firms, and encourage them to compete to produce the highest earnings; or,
* Harvard could establish its own internal investment department and manage all endowment decisions internally.
Putnam said that he currently favors the second alternative, but plans to study all possible systems before making a decision.