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Barakett to Chair Harvard Management Company’s Board of Directors, Finnegan Will Remain on Board

University Treasurer Timothy R. Barakett '87 will become the chair of the Harvard Management Company's board of directors on July 1. The HMC is responsible for stewarding Harvard's $50.7 billion endowment.
University Treasurer Timothy R. Barakett '87 will become the chair of the Harvard Management Company's board of directors on July 1. The HMC is responsible for stewarding Harvard's $50.7 billion endowment. By Briana Howard Pagán
By Emma H. Haidar and Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writers

University Treasurer Timothy R. Barakett ’87 will take over as chair of the Harvard Management Company board next month, succeeding former Treasurer Paul J. Finnegan ’75.

Finnegan, who chaired the HMC’s board for nine years, will remain on the HMC’s board, giving the longtime member of Harvard’s governing bodies an opportunity to remain involved in the University beyond the end of his tenure on the Harvard Corporation.

Barakett stepped in as treasurer in July 2023, beginning the transition between the two financial stewards a year before Finnegan’s term on the Corporation ended. Barakett joined the HMC board in 2022, three years after he joined the Corporation.

The new appointment by interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 is largely ceremonial if not synonymous with the treasurer position. Each University treasurer since the HMC’s founding in 1973 has served as the board’s chair, overseeing Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment. The company itself was first created by then-Treasurer George Putnam Jr. ’49 to give the University more autonomy over its investments.

As chair, Barakett will be responsible for helping HMC overcome recent poor investment performance. In fiscal year 2023, Harvard’s endowment value fell for a second consecutive year — the first time in over two decades. Barakett said in a May interview that the portfolio’s slower growth is due, in part, to its size.

“It’s much easier to make significant portfolio shifts when you have a small endowment,” Barakett said.

The University relies on its endowment to supply more than one-third of its operating revenue, according to Harvard’s financial reports.

The HMC has recently come under fire from pro-Palestine student activists who have urged the University to divest from Israel. Garber said Harvard would “not entertain” calls for divestment in an April interview. As Barakett completes the transition to his new role, he will be expected to defend such decisions alongside Garber.

HMC CEO N.P. “Narv” Narvekar told the Harvard Gazette, a University-run publication, that he was “very excited about Tim’s new leadership role.”

“He is a highly successful and experienced investor who has already brought a fresh perspective and deep engagement to HMC as a member of the board for the last two years,” Narvekar said.

Barakett serves as chairman and CEO of TRB Advisors, a private investment firm. He previously founded hedge fund Atticus Capital, which managed over $20 billion in assets at its height.

“The challenges of funding a leading research and teaching institution like Harvard are unrelenting, but it’s hard to think of someone better suited for the job than Tim,” Finnegan told the Harvard Gazette. “It’s an honor to pass him the gavel.”

“I hope that I can continue to offer the board, Narv, and the whole team at HMC whatever support they need to succeed in their critical work on behalf of Harvard University,” Finnegan added.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.

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