Harvard Loses 2 Staff Members for an Annual Savings of—Hmmm—$18M

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September 29, 2015; Boston Globe

Harvard University has the nation’s highest university endowment, and the Harvard Management Co. that manages that investment portfolio, which as we all know includes fossil fuels, offers the best compensation for its investment managers, albeit for some of the worst performance over the last year. (Yale University’s endowment reported an 11.5 percent investment gain for fiscal 2015, nearly double Harvard University’s return.)

This is how the university, with the resignation of only two of its lead investment managers, will save just over $18 million.

It was announced yesterday that Alvaro Aguirre, the head of natural resources investments, “has decided to leave the company.” He made $9.6 million; the group’s soon-to-retire head of alternative assets, timber specialist Andrew Wiltshire, made a comparatively paltry $8.6 million.

Harvard’s endowment saw a substandard 5.8 percent investment return for fiscal 2015. Stephen Blyth, who heads the group, named natural resources as an area showing “generally subdued returns.”

This on the same day that a congressional committee grilled Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, on her $520,000 salary for running an embattled and highly regarded national health organization.—Ruth McCambridge