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The Harvard Corporation yesterday appointed James F. Rothenberg ’68, president of the Los Angeles-based Capital Research and Management Company, to become the University’s next Treasurer, effective July 1.
Rothenberg, an alum of both the College and Harvard Business School (HBS), will also serve as one of the seven members of the Harvard Corporation and an ex officio member of the Board of Overseers.
As the 30th Treasurer in the University’s history, Rothenberg will also chair the board of directors of the Harvard Management Company (HMC), which will substantially lower and cap salary compensation of its top fund managers next year, after many alumni complained that the University overpaid its endowment managers.
Rothenberg said that he “understand[s] that compensation is an issue” that he will deal with once he assumes his post in July, but that he thought that it was “premature to speculate on future compensation changes right now.”
Rothenberg is a long-time friend of Corporation Member Robert E. Rubin ’60. He met Rubin about 30 years ago, when both had entry-level jobs in the investment world—Rubin at Goldman Sachs, Rothenberg at Capital Research and Management. “I have known Bob Rubin since back in the day, when he was beginning at Goldman Sachs and over the years, my company has done a lot of business with them,” Rothenberg said. He added that he lost touch with Rubin when Rubin joined the Clinton Administration as treasury secretary.
“You don’t really interact with the secretary of the treasury when you’re in business,” Rothenberg said.
RETURNING TO ROOTS
The Pittsburgh native has a long history of commitment to the Harvard community.
He currently holds posts on the dean’s advisory councils of both the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and HBS; in the past he has served as co-chair of his 30th and 35th College reunions, a member of former Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles’s planning committee for undergraduate education, and on the executive committee of the Committee on University Resources.
Rothenberg said his past experience with FAS and HBS should aid his future work—which will no doubt revolve around undergraduate life as well as the University’s expansion across the river into Allston and closer to the Business School.
“The evolution of what happens in Allston and certainly the re-look at undergraduate education and the core will be of great interest to me in my future work,” Rothenberg said. “There is a great desire to increase the faculty and improve student-faculty ratio,” he added. He also said that to prevent deficits, the University would need to raise “incremental monies and be careful about costs.”
SEARCH FOR A SUCCESSOR
The University launched a full-fledged search for a new treasurer last fall, when current Treasurer D. Ronald Daniel announced that he would step down at the end of June after 15 years at the helm.
Rothenberg said he was “surprised” that he was under consideration for the position, when he was first made aware of his candidacy.
“I did not know that my name was on a list of possible candidates,” he said.
Before a call from University President Lawrence H. Summers in the fall, Rothenberg said he had only met the president briefly at a couple of economic conferences in Washington, D.C. Since that call, however, Rothenberg said the two have met, both in Cambridge and Los Angeles, to discuss the Corporation and the role of the treasurer.
“Jim Rothenberg will bring a great deal of valuable experience and practical wisdom to an essential role in Harvard’s governance,” Summers said in a press release.
Rothenberg serves as a director and president of The Investment Company of America, the chairman of The Growth Fund of America and Fundamental Investors, in addition to his post as president and director of the Capital Research and Management Company. He was also the governor of the National Association of Securities Dealers from 1996 to 2002, and was a member of the board of directors of NASDAQ from 1996 to 1999.
He is an active philanthropist in Los Angeles, serving on the boards of the Huntington Memorial Hospital, the Westridge School and KCET, a public television station.
Rothenberg lived in Quincy House as an undergraduate and concentrated in English. He was exempt from military service for medical reasons and enrolled at HBS upon graduating from the College in 1968.
He has spent his entire career with the Capital Group, working there since he graduated from HBS in 1970.
—Staff writer Lauren A. E. Schuker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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