Endowment Soars to $25.9 Billion as Chief Departs

University names interim CIO; departing Meyer to invest $500 million of Harvard's money

Harvard’s endowment swelled to $25.9 billion last fiscal year on investment returns of 19.2 percent, the University announced today. But with the endowment’s chief set to depart at the close of trading this afternoon, the University still had no permanent replacement and said a member of Harvard Management Company’s board of directors would oversee the firm for now.

Peter A. Nadosy ’68, a former president of Morgan Stanley Asset Management, was named interim chief investment officer. The University’s treasurer, James F. Rothenberg ’68, said in an interview today that Nadosy would oversee Harvard’s endowment until a new chief executive is named.

The University has struggled to find a replacement for the departing CEO, Jack R. Meyer, who announced his departure in January. He leaves today on a high note, after yet another strong year of investment returns for Harvard.

Rothenberg said the University would invest roughly $500 million in Meyer’s new hedge fund, Convexity Capital Management, in a continuing trend toward external management of the endowment. And Meyer, along with his departing associates, will continue working as paid advisors to the University “for some time,” Rothenberg said.

Nadosy, who served as chairman of Amherst College’s investment committee from 1998 to 2002, will assume his position on Monday, according to Rothenberg.

“He’ll be there certainly several days a week and sometimes the whole week,” Rothenberg said. “But he does live in New York.”

With total assets that stood at $25.9 billion on June 30, 2005, Harvard’s endowment remained leaps and bounds above its peers in higher education and more than $10 billion ahead of second-place Yale.

But Yale, with its $15.2 billion endowment, beat Harvard’s investments last fiscal year with a return of 22.3 percent.

In a letter to the Harvard community today, Rothenberg called fiscal 2005 “another strong year for the Harvard endowment.”

Nearly every asset class outperformed its internal benchmark with domestic and foreign bonds once again out in front. But Harvard’s two chief bond managers, David R. Mittelman and Maurice Samuels, are leaving with Meyer today and have also not been replaced.

Rothenberg said the search for Meyer’s replacement has been a “complicated” process but he expected to find a new chief for Harvard Management Company soon. He said the search committee—which includes two former secretaries of the Treasury, University President Lawrence H. Summers and Corporation member Robert E. Rubin ’60—was in the process of interviewing specific candidates for the job.

In the interim, Harvard’s endowment will rest in the hands of Nadosy and the management company’s board, which Rothenberg chairs.

“I think certainly in the interim period before a new CEO is there, in effect the board has to be a little more active and involved and engaged,” Rothenberg said.

Nadosy, who joined the management company’s board two years ago, is also a board member of the World Wildlife Fund, the Markle Foundation, which is a nonprofit focused on health care and national security, and the Summit Foundation, an environmental group.

He was born in Hungary in 1944 and, after Soviet troops invaded the country to crush a popular uprising in 1956, he fled to the U.S. He now serves on the board of the Central European University in Budapest.

Nadosy has worked for Morgan Stanley in various roles since 1981. He lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and also has a home in Southampton, N.Y., where he is a trustee of the St. Andrew’s Dune Church.

—Daniel J. Hemel contributed reporting for this story.

—Staff writer Zachary M. Seward can be reached at seward@fas.harvard.edu.