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Edward C. Forst ’82, Harvard’s first executive vice president who stepped down Aug. 1 after a year on the job, will return to Goldman Sachs on Sept. 8 as the firm’s senior strategy officer while continuing to advise Harvard on finances and capital planning.
Forst, who had spent 14 years at Goldman immediately prior to his brief tenure at Harvard, will rejoin the company’s management committee and “review, define, and focus the firm’s global strategy,” according to an internal memo sent by Lloyd C. Blankfein ’75 and Gary D. Cohn, Goldman’s CEO and president, respectively.
The 26-year veteran of Wall Street abruptly announced his intentions to return to the financial services industry in May, stating his desire to seek out opportunities in an environment much changed by the crisis.
“This has been an outstanding year for me,” Forst told The Crimson after announcing that he would leave the University. “But it’s time to return to where I began.”
In his role as one of University President Drew G. Faust’s top advisers, Forst sought to improve the cost-effectiveness of the University’s operations by consolidating resources, such as office supplies, that have traditionally been procured separately at each of Harvard’s schools.
After Harvard’s nearly $37 billion endowment took a precipitous plunge, Forst’s job description expanded to include working with administrators across the University to close budgetary gaps at the schools. Many school leaders described his involvement in the budget-cutting process as “critical,” and Forst met with Faust on an almost daily basis.
University spokesman John D. Longbrake confirmed yesterday that Forst will remain on the University’s Debt Asset Management Committee and will join the Committee on University Resources, a little known body of prominent donors.
Forst, who holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, arrived from Goldman Sachs at the end of a protracted year-long search. Though new to higher education administration, he had kept a hand in Harvard’s affairs, co-chairing several class gift committees and the University Committee on Student Excellence and Opportunity.
He will be replaced by Katherine N. Lapp—currently the executive vice president for business operations at the University of California—who will take the post in early October.
—Staff writer June Q. Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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