Harvard names Mendillo as new investment chief
BOSTON (Reuters) - Harvard University named Jane Mendillo, who built her resume in the endowment world, to oversee the school's $35 billion portfolio on Thursday after its former top money manager resigned unexpectedly last fall.
Mendillo will begin running the country's biggest endowment on July 1, returning to Harvard after spending six years as the chief investment officer at Wellesley College.
The selection ends a six month search for a successor to Mohamed El-Erian, a highly regarded emerging markets specialist who left Harvard Management Co. to rejoin Pacific Investment Management Co.
Harvard reviewed a long list of candidates with Wall Street and pension fund experience to fill what is called the top job in the endowment world. In the end, the committee selected a familiar face to take over amid volatile market conditions and as the school faces pressure to spend more of its money.
Mendillo, who will be the first woman to run Harvard's endowment, was vice president of external investments and oversaw a portfolio that grew to $7 billion when she worked at Harvard Management previously.
At Wellesley, a women's college located near Boston, Mendillo grew the portfolio to $1.7 billion from $1 billion during. In 2007, Wellesley's portfolio grew 22.7 percent, nearly the same as Harvard's 23 percent return, which beat the internal benchmark and bested the average university's benchmark returns.
Mendillo earned her undergraduate and business degrees from Yale University.
James Rothenberg, Harvard's Treasurer who also headed the search committee, called Mendillo "one of the most able and accomplished investment managers in the endowment world."
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by John Wallace, Phil Berlowitz)