Endowment chief to leave University in June

The University’s Chief Investment Officer, Peter Stein, announced that he will leave the University this June.

By Alison Sider

The University’s Chief Investment Officer, Peter Stein, announced that he will leave the University this June.

Stein heads the University Investment Office, which is responsible for investing funds from the University’s endowment. University officials announced last week that the endowment is estimated to have lost about 25 percent as a result of the ongoing financial crisis, similar to losses at many other universities.

Stein said he made the decision to leave primarily with his family’s interests in mind. “It’s really about relocation for my family,” he said. Stein said that his next career move would be based primarily on “professional opportunity and location.” Stein said that his family has roots and connections on both the East and West Coasts, which is an important factor in their relocation.

Though he is still considering various options, Stein noted that opportunities in finance are actually “robust” right now. “This type of environment creates opportunities,” he said.

Stein arrived at the University in 2005, after working for five years at the Princeton University Investment Company. The University endowment’s value soared during Stein’s tenure, rising from $3.55 billion in 2005 to over $6 billion in September 2008.

“Peter has provided a very knowledgeable and analytic approach together with a steady hand in managing our endowment through both positive and negative financial environments,” University President Robert Zimmer said.

Stein said his decision to leave has nothing to do with the recent decline in the endowment’s value.

“That has nothing whatsoever to do with this change. It’s been a difficult year for anyone in our business. It hasn’t been any more difficult here,” he said.

In fact, Stein said that the atmosphere in the investment office was positively pleasant in comparison to the panic that might have been experienced on Wall Street. “Our office here is full of very smart, very seasoned professionals. People here have been very calm and very professional, and constantly considered what’s best for the institution or the endowment going forward,” he said.

University officials have only just started the search for Stein’s replacement, and no decisions have been made as to potential candidates. Stein will be on hand to assist with the transition and to help select his successor. “I’m not sure when there’s ever a good time to change, but one of the reasons that Peter announced this so far in advance of his departure date is to make sure that the University had ample time to find a successor and so he could help with a smooth transition,” University spokesman Steve Kloehn said.