Swensen Protege to Run Penn Endowment as Yale Network Grows

The University of Pennsylvania has hired Peter Ammon to oversee investments in its endowment and pension plan, which have a combined $7.8 billion of assets.

Ammon, 36, a director in Yale University’s investments office in New Haven, Connecticut, will begin on July 1, Philadelphia-based Penn said yesterday in a statement.

He currently works for Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen, an advocate of alternative assets such as hedge funds, who helped reinvent how colleges manage their money. Ammon joins a group of Swensen proteges who left Yale to run other sizable endowments, including Andrew Golden at Princeton University and Seth Alexander at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Peter is a remarkably talented investment manager with impressively wide and successful experience across asset classes,” Amy Gutmann, Penn’s president, said in the statement. She called him “the right person” to maximize the school’s long-term returns.

Ammon replaces Kristen Gilbertson, who stepped down last year after eight years running Penn’s investment office. He joined Yale’s investment office in 2005 and oversaw holdings of domestic and foreign stocks, as well as hedge funds and natural resources such as timber, according to the university’s website. He also helped teach a class on endowment management at the Yale School of Management.

Investment Gain

Gilbertson was among the highest-paid employees at Penn, making $1.5 million in the year ended June 30, 2011, according to the most recent university tax filing. David Harkins, a managing director for public markets, was serving as interim chief investment officer in her absence, according to a press release from October.

Philadelphia-based Penn, one of the eight Ivy League schools in the northeastern U.S., posted an investment gain of 1.6 percent in the year ended June 30, down from a 19 percent increase the year prior.

It has the 11th-largest university endowment with $6.8 billion of assets, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund.

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