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Harvard endowment names risk chief

By Beth Healy
Globe Staff / January 15, 2010

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Harvard University’s endowment manager named a new chief risk officer, Neil Mason, to report to chief executive Jane Mendillo, after a year of record losses in the fund and a tumultuous financial year for the university.

He succeeds Dan Kelly, who left last year. Mason, 43, has a hedge fund background, having worked most recently for FRM Capital Advisors Ltd. Earlier in his career, Mason ran a trading operation for Bank of America in London and spent 13 years in trading and management in J.P. Morgan’s interest rate and emerging markets businesses.

Mendillo said Mason would “be highly effective as we continue to refine the endowment’s risk profile to ensure that it can support the growth and plans of the university over the long term.’’ The endowment lost 27.3 percent of its value in its fiscal year ended June 30, or nearly $11 billion, amid the global market crash. Harvard also lost $1.8 billion in cash by investing large portions of its operating funds alongside the endowment.