Endowment Chief To Step Down

El-Erian to return to California company

The head of Harvard’s $34.9 billion endowment will leave his post after just one and a half years in office, the University announced Tuesday.

Mohamed A. El-Erian, president and chief executive officer of Harvard Management Company (HMC), will resign at the end of 2007 to take a job with his former company, California-based Pacific Investment Management Company.

“My time at Harvard has exposed me to many wonderful and interesting issues and people,” El-Erian said in a statement. He added that he was returning to California to “be closer to our family.”

El-Erian came to HMC in February 2006 after a protracted search of over 10 months.

The prior CEO, Jack R. Meyer, took nearly one-third of HMC's employees with him to start a new hedge fund. Meyer and other top officials at the company had been criticized for their multi-million-dollar salaries and bonuses.

Under El-Erian, Harvard sought to rebuild its depleted internal investment company instead of outsourcing endowment management to other firms, as other peer institutions—including Yale—had done.

During fiscal year 2007, the first full-year with El-Erian at the helm, the endowment returned 23 percent, ballooning from $29.2 billion to $34.9 billion. A search for El-Erian's successor will begin immediately, a press release said.

—Check for updates throughout the day.