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September 17, 2014

High Expectations Put Pressure on Harvard Endowment Head

The impending departure of Jane Mendillo as CEO of the Harvard Management Company, which manages the university's $32.7-billion endowment, illustrates the difficulties of overseeing investments for the nation's richest institution of higher education, writes The New York Times. Ms. Mendillo announced in June that she would leave Harvard's in-house financial firm at the end of the year.

While Ms. Mendillo is credited with steadying Harvard's endowment after its value plummeted in 2009, the school's returns over her tenure trailed those of its Ivy League peers, which some former colleagues attributed to her cautious investment style. Associates said she was unhappy with the intense scrutiny of Harvard's returns. School officials defended her performance, saying the endowment's average gain of 11 percent to 12 percent since the 2008 market crash matched its long-term record.