General Motors announced on Friday its nomination of former Harvard Management Company President and CEO Jane L. Mendillo to stand for election to its board of directors.
If elected at GM’s annual shareholders meeting in June, Mendillo, who led HMC and its management of Harvard's endowment from 2008 to 2014, will succeed retiring director and former GM executive Stephen J. Girsky.
“Jane brings to the Board a demonstrated track record of performance through her decades of investment management experience,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary T. Barra wrote in the company’s press release. “She has generated proven results through periods of rapidly changing market conditions. Her experience and leadership will be especially valuable as we continue to strengthen our investor outreach and engagement.”
This month, over a year after leaving her position at HMC at the end of 2014, Mendillo joined the board of directors of Lazard, an investment banking firm in New York, N.Y.
Despite earning nominations to seats on two blue-chip boards in recent months, Mendillo’s track record as HMC’s chief has been a source of concern due to poor endowment returns during her tenure leading the institution.
Mendillo took the reins at HMC in the summer of 2008, with the endowment at a record high of $36.9 billion. In her first fiscal year at the helm, the endowment, largely invested in private equity and real estate assets, tumbled as those holdings declined in value because of the financial crisis. The endowment was worth $26.0 billion at the start of FY 2010.
Mendillo worked in recovery mode for the remainder of her tenure.
Since leaving the Harvard Management Company, unlike previous endowment chiefs, Mendillo has chosen to remain out of the investment business, instead serving as an adviser to for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.
In addition to her new role at Lazard and nomination to join GM's board, Mendillo has joined the boards of trustees of the Berklee College of Music, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Boston Foundation.
Having worked at HMC for 15 years until 2002, Mendillo rejoined Harvard in 2008 after a six-year tenure as the chief investment officer at Wellesley College.
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