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HMC Private Equity Director Will Leave Post After Three Months

By Amna H. Hashmi, Crimson Staff Writer

The managing director for private equity at Harvard Management Company, Lane MacDonald ’88-’89, will leave his position at the end of the month to become president of Crosby Advisors—a small group of investors that handles the wealth of Fidelity Investments chief Edward C. Johnson III ’54 and his family.

MacDonald has overseen a substantial portion of Harvard’s $33 billion endowment. The Johnson family is worth $26 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

MacDonald only began his tenure as Harvard’s Managing Director of Private Equity in December of 2013. Previously, he had served as the managing director for public markets starting in 2012, four years after joining HMC as senior vice president for private equity in 2008.

“While we are sorry to see Lane go, we recognize this unique opportunity for him to take a leadership role at an important investment office,” Andrew G. Wiltshire, HMC’s alternative assets manager, who oversaw MacDonald’s work, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Crimson. “[W]e wish him well as he joins other HMC alums who have been recruited into top investment positions,” Wiltshire continued.

MacDonald’s departure from HMC does not signify a break from Harvard, however. He currently serves as the chairman of the Harvard Varsity Club, an alumni association for former athletes. MacDonald captained the Harvard men’s hockey team, representing the U.S. in the 1988 Winter Olympics. He is a former director of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Wiltshire wrote that the search for a replacement for MacDonald is “well advanced,” though provided no further details to employees.

HMC’s previous private equity director, Peter F. Dolan ’83, left April 2013 after nearly 20 years of service with no explanation from the Company or University. His departure came at a time when HMC’s performance in private equities for fiscal year 2013 fell behind other types of investments. Jane L. Mendillo, HMC’s president and CEO, wrote that private equity performance was “fair” in HMC’s 2013 annual report. While the endowment’s investment in public market equity saw a 16.3 percent return, the private equity division only slightly outperformed its benchmark at 11 percent return on investment for the fiscal year.

HMC has lost a number of top employees to the private sector over the years, including Jonathan S. Jacobson, Phillip Gross, Robert Atchinson, and Jack R. Meyer in the last decade or so. Jacobson left in 1998 to establish his hedge fund Highfields Capital Management, Gross and Atchinson for Adage Capital Management in 2001, and Meyer, who served as HMC’s chief investment officer until 2005 and went on to found Boston-based Hedge Fund Convexity Capital Management, taking 30 HMC employees with him.

In her 2013 Annual Report, Mendillo wrote that, “HMC is fully staffed on the investment front with highly experienced, high quality talent across the board.” She pointed to the additions of Jake Xia as chief risk officer and Jameela Pedicini as vice president of sustainable investing as examples of new leaders added to the Company.

—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at amnahashmi@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.

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