Venture capitalist James W. Breyer is stepping down from his position on the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — the University announced Thursday.
The Corporation elected Breyer, founder and chief executive officer of Breyer Capital and a Harvard Business School graduate, in 2013. His appointment at the time marked the completion of the Corporation’s expansion from seven to 13 members following a set of governance reforms adopted in 2010 to promote transparency and accountability in the group.
Breyer also serves as the co-chairman of IDG Capital, an investment firm based in Beijing. In addition to serving on the Harvard Corporation, Breyer chairs the advisory board at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.
Breyer wrote in an emailed statement that he was honored to serve on the Corporation and that University President Lawrence S. Bacow and the remaining members of the Corporation will continue serving Harvard affiliates well.
“Serving as a member of the Harvard Corporation has been a great honor and a true pleasure,” Breyer wrote. “I am so proud of all we have accomplished together. I know that Larry Bacow and his superb leadership team, in collaboration with our distinguished faculty, will continue fulfilling Harvard’s finest aspirations.”
Breyer served on the Corporation’s finance committee and the joint committees on inspection and on alumni affairs and development. He is also a member of the Board of Dean’s advisers at the Harvard Business School, a role independent from his Corporation seat.
“Although my term of service is ending, I look forward to continued active engagement with this great University, which so seamlessly marries tradition and innovation,” Breyer added.
William F. Lee ’72, senior fellow of the Corporation, said in an interview Thursday Breyer was a “wonderful” Corporation member and that the body will start the process of finding his replacement after Commencement.
“He's stepping down in large part because he has a huge number of responsibilities in China and Asia these days. That's where his businesses is focused. That's where some of his philanthropic efforts are focused,” Lee said. “And it just became too hard to balance everything.”
Lee also said the Corporation will look to replace Breyer with someone who has a similar background and similar experiences.
“We'll be looking to add, or basically to add, someone who might bring some of the same things that Jim did: a West Coast perspective, a technology perspective, a broad international perspective,” Lee said.
The Corporation has already selected two new members — Timothy R. Barakett ’87 and Mariano-Florentino “Tino” Cuéllar ’93 — to join its ranks July 1. They will replace outgoing members Susan L. Graham ’64 and Jessica T. Matthews ’67.
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