University of Texas’ $37 Billion Endowment Manager ResignsBy
Fund is third largest among U.S. schools behind Harvard, Yale
Zimmerman says it was mutual decision with university
Bruce Zimmerman, chief executive officer of the University of Texas Investment Management Co., said he resigned after about a decade overseeing the third largest U.S. college endowment in a mutual decision with the university.
Zimmerman, 59, had overseen the fund since 2007, and assets are now about $37 billion, the university said Monday in a statement. The school declined to comment on the reason for the departure, effective immediately. UTIMCO manages funds for the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and the Permanent University fund, which invests revenue from land leased to oil and gas companies.
“There had been discussions going on for some time,” Zimmerman said in a phone interview. “It felt like the best thing for everybody.”
The UTIMCO board “will act immediately” to appoint an interim CEO and chief investment officer and to launch a national search for Zimmerman’s successor, according to the statement.
Texas is seeking a new leader as the largest endowment in higher education, Harvard University, last month announced its new chief. Nirmal P. “Narv” Narvekar is leaving Columbia University’s endowment to begin the post at Harvard’s $35.7 billion endowment. Peter Holland, the chief investment officer at Columbia’s fund since 2003, succeeds Narvekar as CEO. Texas is the third largest U.S. university endowment behind Harvard and Yale University.
“There’s always a lot of change at UTIMCO and the UT system,” Zimmerman said, adding that during his tenure, he worked with six board chairs, four university chancellors and almost 30 board members.
The University of Texas is one of the largest public university systems in the U.S., with 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 221,000, according to the statement. The school said UTIMCO, created in 1996, is the first nonprofit investment corporation formed by a public university and is under the authority of the system’s board of regents.
“It’s natural they want to be more involved in the course of the organization and that’s just natural and it makes a lot of sense,” Zimmerman said. “It’s healthy for an organization to have change.”
The fund’s fiscal year ended Aug. 31 with an investment gain of about 4 percent, Zimmerman said. For the 12 months ended June 30, when most colleges complete their fiscal year, the endowment was down 0.7 percent, he said. About 430 endowments lost 2.7 percent on average in the year through June, according to an estimate by Cambridge Associates, which manages $9.9 billion for endowments and foundations. The data, like the school returns, is net of fees.
“Bruce earned his reputation as a strong, skilled investment manager and we are grateful for the excellent work he has done for public higher education in Texas,” Paul Foster, the regents chairman, said in the statement. “He has steered the ship through good economic times and bad, always preserving and enhancing precious assets that allow us to provide unmatched opportunity for Texas students.”
Zimmerman, a Houston native who has an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a master’s of business administration from Harvard, said he doesn’t have immediate plans for his next job. He said he doesn’t plan to retire.
— With assistance by Kate Smith