Kathryn J. Crecelius, who manages $2 billion in investments for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been appointed to the newly created position of chief investment officer at The Johns Hopkins University.
Crecelius, since 1998 MIT's managing director for marketable alternative investments, takes over overall investment strategy and management for a Johns Hopkins endowment that stood at $2.165 billion on June 30, at the close of fiscal year 2005. She will begin work at Johns Hopkins by Oct. 1.
"Kathryn is particularly well-prepared for the CIO position at Johns Hopkins," said James T. McGill, the university's senior vice president for finance and administration. "Her intellect, experience in investing and broad-based view of the world, her commitment to higher education, and the respect she has earned in the investment community all add to her ability to perform exceedingly well here."
Crecelius has built the MIT endowment's marketable alternatives portfolio — including such investments as hedge funds — to $1.588 billion, taking it from 5 percent to more than 20 percent of the institute's $7 billion total endowment. MIT's endowment was the sixth-largest among American universities in the most recent ranking, from fiscal year 2004. Crecelius also invests $429 million in assets from MIT's $2.3 billion retirement plan.
"This position represents an exciting opportunity to build an investment office for the 21st century," Crecelius said. "I am looking forward to joining one of America's pre-eminent universities as chief investment officer."
At MIT, Crecelius has engaged and overseen outside investment managers and also investigated and recommended investment opportunities. She developed MIT's due diligence process and monitoring protocols for investments in hedge funds and other marketable alternatives. She also sits on a seven-person team that determines the overall allocation of MIT's investments.
At Johns Hopkins, which was 24th in the 2004 endowment ranking, she will build the university's first separate investment office staff. Until now, university investments have been handled in the Treasurer's Office, which also is responsible for such functions as cash management, external financing, bank relations, risk management and insurance. "The job has gotten too big for one person, particularly given the increased complexity of the endowment's investments with close to 30 percent in alternative investments," said William Snow, Johns Hopkins' treasurer since 1989. "Most large endowments have a dedicated CIO. This is an opportune time to split the job, given that I am approaching retirement next year."
Before joining MIT, Crecelius was a consultant at Cambridge Associates Inc. and head of risk in the Global Custody Network Group at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. She held several positions from 1988 to 1995 at Bank of Boston and Baybank N.A.
Before entering the world of finance and investment, she served a previous term at MIT in an altogether different capacity: From 1978 to 1988, she was associate professor of French and coordinator of the French Department, helping to double French enrollments and publishing a book and 18 scholarly articles.
Crecelius is a 1973 summa cum laude graduate of Bryn Mawr College and earned her Ph.D. in French from Yale University in 1978. She won recognition as a chartered financial analyst in 1994.
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