Johns Hopkins Seeks Endowment Chief for $3.4 Billion Fund

  • Kathryn Crecelius retiring after building investment office
  • Hired in 2005, outgoing CIO previously was at MIT's endowment

Johns Hopkins University will conduct a national search to replace Kathryn Crecelius, the chief investment officer hired in 2005 to oversee an endowment that has grown to $3.4 billion.

Crecelius will retire at the end of June, Dennis O’Shea, a spokesman for the Baltimore-based university, said Thursday. She announced her plans to leave internally in December, he said.

Her departure follows the exits of CIOs at Cornell University and Southern Methodist University. Performance at U.S. college endowments has been lackluster recently. Fifteen endowments that provided Bloomberg with total returns for the second half of 2015 lost 3.6 percent on average.

Endowments on average suffered the worst annual performance in three years in fiscal 2015, with a 2.4 percent gain, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers and money manager Commonfund.

The size of Johns Hopkins’ endowment shrunk by 1.1 percent to $3.4 billion from almost $3.5 billion in the year through June 30, according to Nacubo and Commonfund. O’Shea declined to provide performance data.

Johns Hopkins hired Crecelius after creating the position of chief investment officer to oversee the endowment, which had been managed in the treasurer’s office, according to her bio on the university’s website. She had been managing director for marketable alternatives at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology since 1998 and previously worked at Cambridge Associates and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

The departure was first reported yesterday by Chief Investment Officer magazine.

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