University of Virginia's Kochard Is Said to Join Makena as CIO

  • Kochard starts at Makena Capital Management in January
  • Makena started in 2005 by ex-Stanford endowment executives

Makena Capital Management, a $19.4 billion firm founded by former executives at Stanford University’s endowment, plucked its new chief investment officer from the ranks of college funds.

Lawrence Kochard, 61, who oversaw the University of Virginia’s $8.6 billion fund for seven years, joins Makena in January, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Kochard replaces Luke Proskine, a managing director who remains with Makena as director of investment strategy, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Makena, launched in 2005 with backing from Stanford and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, declined to comment. Kochard, who departs from the Virginia endowment by year-end, didn’t return phone and email messages seeking comment.

Virginia, an elite public university with one of the best investing track records among peers, joins other schools with large endowments such as Emory University in Atlanta and the University of California, Berkeley seeking new endowment heads.

Read more: Virginia Endowment Chief Kochard to Depart $8.6 Billion Fund

Makena started out with $6.5 billion and manages assets for sovereign wealth funds, family offices and endowments such as Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The firm, based in Menlo Park, California, began at a time when a growing number of nonprofits began outsourcing their investment offices.

Michael McCaffery, the former chief executive officer of Stanford Management Co., the investing arm of the university, led the group that founded Makena and is currently the firm’s chairman, according to its website. David Burke, Stanford’s former head of private equity, is Makena’s CEO. The company has about 70 employees, the person said.

Eric Upin, another Stanford veteran, was Makena’s CIO until the start of 2016 and has reduced his role with the company, another person said. Upin has been interim CIO at Washington University in St. Louis, his alma mater, which hired a replacement for its $8 billion endowment.

Read more: Washington University Hires Wilson to Run $8 Billion Fund

Kochard joined the University of Virginia’s fund in 2011 from Georgetown University, where he was the school’s first CIO. Prior to Georgetown, he worked at the Virginia Retirement System, building the public pension’s hedge fund portfolio. Kochard was paid $3.8 million in 2015, according to a tax filing.

UVA, the fifth-largest endowment among public colleges in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg, had an annual average return of 10 percent in the five years through June 30. The performance isn’t net of fees; most endowments report investment performance that includes fees.

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