Harvard Management Company announced Sanjeev Daga will take the management of the University’s $39.2 billion endowment as the firm’s chief operating officer starting in February.
Daga comes from Columbia University Investment Management Company, the group that oversees Columbia University's endowment, where he holds the same position. The chief operating officer is one of HMC’s three most senior leadership positions. N.P. "Narv" Narvekar, CEO of the Harvard Management Company, also previously managed Columbia’s endowment, working directly with Daga for more than a decade.
Robert A. Ettl, the current COO of HMC, is retiring after 10 years at the firm. He served as interim CEO of HMC prior to Narvekar’s arrival in December 2016.
“I am excited for the opportunity to join HMC and build on the work that Narv and the team have undertaken over the last two years,” Daga said in a Harvard Gazette article. “I look forward to meeting with members of the team in the coming months and learning about the challenges and opportunities ahead, so that I can hit the ground running in February.”
The move comes as HMC announced in September that it returned 10 percent on its investments in fiscal year 2018, a gain Narvekar announced he was "not pleased" with. Harvard’s returns lagged behind its Ivy League peers, finishing only ahead of Columbia.
Daga graduated from Rutgers University and received his MBA from New York University. He previously worked in risk management for two international banks.
“I had the pleasure of working with Sanjeev for more than 13 years at CIMC and we are thrilled that he will be joining the team,” Narvekar told the Gazette. “His experience building and managing an extraordinary operations and IT effort at a leading endowment will be a great asset as we continue our organizational transition.”
Charles A. Skorina, the head of a finance executive search firm, said HMC’s chief operating officer position involves “middle office” tasks like risk management, as well as “back office” duties like administrative oversight.
“In Harvard’s case in particular, you’ve got back and middle office relationships,” he said. “You have an awful lot of due diligence and review, because every manager that you put money with you have to review that manager.”
Skorina also said it is common for endowment heads to bring over people they have previously worked with. As part of the announcement, HMC also said Kevin F. Shannon, the group’s chief financial officer, is retiring. The position may be folded into existing management structure, according to the Gazette article.
—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.
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