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Jameela Pedicini, the inaugural vice president of sustainable investing at the Harvard Management Company, will depart in December for the New York-based Perella Weinberg Partners.
HMC chief executive officer Stephen Blyth told colleagues about Pedicini’s upcoming departure in an email Monday.
Pedicini, who will leave HMC after just two and a half years, departs after her department suffered criticism from environmental groups over the Management Company’s steadfast refusal to divest the endowment, now valued at $37.6 billion, from the fossil fuel industry.
In her new role, Pedicini will work within Perella Weinberg as the director of sustainable investment strategies for Perella Weinberg Partners Agility, a division that works with foundations, endowments, and not-for-profits to manage their investments.
Prior to heading up the sustainable investing office within HMC, Pedicini spent 18 months as an investment officer at the California Public Employees' Retirement System. CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with assets of more than $300 billion and manages pensions and health benefits for more than 1.6 million people.
In an email announcing the move, Blyth praised Pedicini’s efforts during her tenure at Harvard.
“During her two years at HMC, Jameela has strengthened our ability to assess portfolio risks related to sustainability, was instrumental in establishing Harvard’s engagement with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and liaised closely with the University’s committees on shareholder responsibility,” Blyth said. “The issues of sustainability and ESG risk management will only become more important for HMC.”
Benjamin A. Franta, a Ph.D. student and alumni coordinator for the environmental advocacy group Divest Harvard, gave Pedicini cautious praise in an email.
“While she was at Harvard, Ms. Pedicini was cordial and professional with us students, even as we urged the Harvard Corporation and Harvard Management Company to revise their fossil fuel investment policies,” he wrote. He suggested that Pedicini’s move to Perella Weinberg Partners Agility, which recently facilitated fossil fuel divestment for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, could be a sign of positive trends within the investment industry toward fossil fuel divestment.
Last spring, Divest Harvard engaged in a series of public protests calling for Harvard to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The campaign was capped by what organizers dubbed their “Heat Week,” a week-long blockade of administrative offices at Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard. Despite the barricade, University President Drew G. Faust worked at other offices around campus, including the Smith Campus Center, rather than choose to support divesting the endowment.
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