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Summers Adds Wall Street Post to Portfolio

Former University president will serve as a managing director for N.Y. firm

By Nicholas M. Ciarelli and Javier C. Hernandez, Crimson Staff Writers

Unlike most job-seekers on campus this fall, Lawrence H. Summers doesn’t have to brave the recruiting rush to find a gig on Wall Street.

The former Harvard president is now a part-time managing director at New York-based D. E. Shaw Group.

Summers, who will take on the new position in addition to his current role as the Eliot University professor, will focus his efforts on “various strategic initiatives and high-level portfolio management activities” at the hedge fund, the firm announced yesterday.

Summers, a former secretary of the U.S. Treasury, said his new role will not change his status as a Harvard faculty member.

“This is entirely within the context of the normal outside activities of a Harvard professor,” Summers said in a statement to The Crimson.

Economist Gene B. Sperling, a friend of Summers and a former Clinton adviser, said Summers’ economic prowess and Washington experience are valuable commodities for financial firms.

“He’s really almost one-of-a-kind in bringing that combination,” Sperling said.

In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Summers was in talks with two financial powerhouses, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Sperling would not disclose which firms had extended offers to the former Harvard president, but he did say that Summers had spent the past several months deciding between three opportunities at traditional financial conglomerates and smaller hedge funds.

“He had no scarcity of offers,” Sperling said. “Larry has always been very valuable and highly sought after by the private sector.”

D. E. Shaw, which has no Boston office, employs 1,000 staffers worldwide and manages a portfolio of about $25 billion. The famously secretive firm is known for its complex mathematical investment models as well as its nontraditional workforce. Its staff includes a Jeopardy champion, a former member of the MIT blackjack team, and several former professors, including the firm’s founder, David E. Shaw.

“The D. E. Shaw Group has been pioneering in its approach to investment and technology,” Summers said in a statement. “It has assembled a gifted and talented team with a deep commitment to applying the most sophisticated thinking to all of its activities.”

The Shaw job won’t be the only demand on Summers’ post-presidency schedule. He has also signed up to blog for The New Republic and write a monthly column for Financial Times, though he has yet to contribute to either publication.

“I think he’d be the first to say that he would have preferred to have been still president of Harvard, but I think he’s also clearly enjoying this stage of his life as well and the incredible options he has,” Sperling said.

—Staff writer Nicholas M. Ciarelli can be reached at ciarelli@fas.harvard.edu. —Staff writer Javier C. Hernandez can be reached at jhernand@fas.harvard.edu.

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