Stephen Blyth Resigns from Harvard Management Company

As Harvard Management Company is in transition, its CEO, who had been on medical leave, resigns.

Stephen Blyth
Stephen BlythPhotograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

The University announced that Stephen Blyth, president and CEO of Harvard Management Company (HMC) since the beginning of 2015, has resigned. He went on medical leave in late May, as reported. The personnel transition comes at a critical time: the investment return on Harvard's endowment assets has lagged, and Blyth had instituted sweeping changes in asset allocation, personnel, and relationships with external fund managers. Distributions for the endowment are the largest source of funds for Harvard's operating budget—about 36 percent in fiscal year 2015 (the last period reported).

The text of the University news release follows:

Harvard Management Company (HMC), the investment management arm of Harvard University, today announced that Stephen Blyth, President and Chief Executive Officer, has resigned for personal reasons effective immediately. Robert A. Ettl, HMC’s Chief Operating Officer, will continue to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer. The HMC Board has engaged David Barrett Partners to conduct a search for Dr. Blyth’s replacement. 

“The Board is deeply grateful for Stephen’s many contributions during his distinguished ten-year career at HMC, particularly in his most recent role as President and CEO where he created a more flexible asset allocation framework, a redesigned compensation system, and a collaborative investment decision structure,” said Paul J. Finnegan, Chairman of the HMC Board. “We understand and support Stephen’s decision to step down for personal reasons. We wish him well in his future endeavors and look forward to his continued contributions as Senior Advisor to the HMC Board.” 

René Canezin, Head of Public Markets and Natural Resources, and Richard Hall, Head of Private Equity, will continue to co-chair HMC’s Investment Committee during this interim period. Additionally, Daniel Cummings, Head of Real Estate, will serve as Mr. Ettl’s vice-chairman on HMC’s Executive Committee. 

“HMC is fortunate to have a strong and deep leadership team,” added Mr. Finnegan. “We are confident that under Bob Ettl’s leadership, HMC will continue to successfully implement its investment strategy.” 

Dr. Blyth also serves as a Professor of the Practice of Statistics at Harvard University, where he teaches quantitative finance. In 2013, Dr. Blyth was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa prize for excellence in teaching. 

“Stephen has made extraordinary contributions to Harvard University as a teacher, an alumnus, and a leader at HMC,” said President Drew Faust. “We look forward to his return to teaching and thank him for all that he has done and will continue to do for Harvard.” 

“It has been a privilege to lead HMC, to work with such a talented team over the past decade, and to support an institution that makes a powerful impact in the world,” said Blyth. “Harvard has played such a positive role in my life and, as I look forward to my next chapter, I am delighted to return to teaching and interacting with the students and faculty who remind all of us at HMC why the work that is done here is so important.” 

Read more articles by: John S. Rosenberg

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