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Ritu Kalra Named as Harvard CFO and VP for Finance

Ritu Kalra is set to become Harvard’s next chief financial officer and vice president for finance.
Ritu Kalra is set to become Harvard’s next chief financial officer and vice president for finance. By Courtesy of Kris Snibbe / Harvard University
By Miles J. Herszenhorn and Claire Yuan, Crimson Staff Writers

Ritu Kalra, who currently serves as Harvard’s director of the Office of Treasury Management, will ascend to the post of chief financial officer and vice president for finance, the University announced Tuesday afternoon.

Kalra will succeed her boss Thomas J. Hollister, the outgoing CFO and vice president for finance, when he steps down from the role at the end of the month. Hollister, who served in the role since joining Harvard in 2015, announced in November his intention to step down at the end of the academic year.

Harvard Executive Vice President Meredith L. Weenick ’90 told the Harvard Gazette — a University-run news publication — that she is “thrilled to have” Kalra step into her new role.

“Since joining Harvard in 2020, she has provided exceptional leadership and been a trusted adviser on an array of financial matters and University priorities,” Weenick said. “Her Harvard experience, coupled with her track record as an innovator in private sector banking and finance, positions her well as a leader who will continue to build on what has been strong stewardship of the University’s finances in recent years.”

As special projects adviser, Kalra has also helped spearhead Harvard’s Allston initiatives. In her new appointments, Kalra will be responsible for overseeing the University’s long-term financial planning, annual budgeting, endowment spending policy, and financial accounting and reporting.

Prior to her time at Harvard, Kalra spent nearly two decades at Goldman Sachs — one of the largest investment banks in the world — serving in several roles, including managing director and head of national higher education finance. There, she helped Harvard and other universities develop strategic plans for energy infrastructure decarbonization, additional on-campus student housing, and budget optimization.

Additionally, as head of public sector and infrastructure finance for the western region at Goldman Sachs, Kalra helped design new financing strategies for dealing with climate risks, including working with California’s government to capitalize a $21 billion fund to manage the impacts of large-scale wildfires.

Timothy R. Barakett ’87 — who will become the University’s treasurer on July 1 — praised Kalra in the Harvard Gazette for her “unique ability” to align “strategic thinking with operational and organizational context.”

“I have no doubt she will continue to bring this same leadership to bear as she steps into this new role and, building on the strong relationships she has across the University, will be a thoughtful and highly effective partner in moving Harvard’s mission and priorities forward in the years ahead,” Barakett, who also serves on the Harvard Corporation, said.

In the Harvard Gazette, Kalra applauded “Harvard’s ability to forge collaborations within and beyond the University, across a breathtaking breadth of disciplines,” which she said “doesn’t happen by accident.”

“It requires a rare and sustained marriage of strategic leadership and executional excellence,” Kalra said. “Tom Hollister has been instrumental in kindling this marriage across the organization, and I look forward to working with the broader University community to build on this essential partnership to advance the academic mission.”

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mherszenhorn.

—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @claireyuan33.

CORRECTION: June 10, 2023

A previous version of this article included a caption that incorrectly spelled Ritu Kalra's last name.

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