Harvard Private Equity Head Peter Dolan Said to Leave Endowment

Peter Dolan has left Harvard Management Co. where he oversaw the private equity and venture capital portfolio, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Dolan left as of April 10, said the person, who declined to be identified because the departure hasn’t been made public.

Harvard, the world’s richest university with a $30.4 billion endowment, is seeking to rebound from a lackluster performance after it lost 0.05 percent on investments in the year ended June 30. Private equity, which generated annual average returns of more than 20 percent for Harvard over 20 years, gained 1.99 percent last year, compared with a benchmark of 4.04 percent, according to the school’s annual report.

Dolan joined Harvard Management, the Boston-based arm of the university that oversees the endowment investments, in 1995 after working for consultant Cambridge Associates and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. He has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a master’s from the University of Virginia.

The departure was first reported by Fortune magazine’s Term Sheet newsletter. A spokesman for Harvard declined to comment.

Harvard had more than $7 billion invested in private equities, making it the second-largest segment of its portfolio, according to the annual report. Jane Mendillo, the head of Harvard Management, said last year the endowment is seeking to regain its edge by investing directly in more real assets such as natural resources while limiting increases in private equity, where returns have weakened in recent years.

Separately, the university in February bolstered its connections to the industry by naming James Breyer, a partner at venture-capital firm Accel Partners, to its governing body, known as the Harvard Corporation.

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