January was a busy month for an endowment giant, supersized corporate fund and Silicon Valley.
After months of management restructure, Harvard Management Company tapped a new chief investment officer from a prestigious New York-based family office. SoftBank appointed a new executive to manage its newly launched $100 billion “Vision Fund.”
On the asset manager side, venture capital firms globally added new partners from both downstream (portfolio companies) and upstream (LP side). Meanwhile, two regional heads at KKR and Carlyle left the firms to open their own investment shop.
Here are the important institutional investment job changes in January:
Harvard Management Company hired Richard Slocum as the endowment’s new chief investment officer. Slocum is chief investment officer at The Johnson Company, a New York-based family office, and will join Harvard in March. Slocum’s appointment is the latest management shakeup following the hiring of Columbia University’s endowment chief executive, Nirmal P. Narvekar, in December to revive the ailing endowment. Harvard’s previous CEO, Stephen Blyth, resigned in July 2016.
Pritzker Group Private Capital, the private equity arm of the famed family office Pritzker Group, promoted vice president Bradley West to principal - legal. West joined Pritzker in 2014. In this new role, he will manage the legal aspects of the firm’s investment operations and continue providing strategic and operational support for the firm’s middle-market investments across manufactured products, services and health care sectors.
Greg Kulka, the private equity chief at the New Mexico State Investment Council, retired after 15 years of service. Kulka managed the private equity investments for the $20.8 billion sovereign wealth fund, which make up roughly 9 percent of the total portfolio. His role will be replaced by David Lee, a portfolio strategist at the fund.
Initialized Capital, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm founded by former Y Combinator partners Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan, added three new partners: Eric Woersching, a former trader at Peter Thiel’s hedge fund Clarium Capital; Vincent Chu, a software engineer who worked with Garry Tan at blogging platform Posterous; and Jen Wolf, the former chief product officer at restaurant discovery platform Reserve.
Daniel Gross, founder of Y Combinator-backed search engine startup Cue, joined Y Combinator as a partner. Cue was acquired by Apple for $40 million in 2013, and upon the acquisition, Gross joined Apple as a director to help develop Apple’s machine learning capabilities. His departure to YC is anticipated to bring fresh artificial intelligence flair to the startup accelerator.
Japanese telecom behemoth SoftBank hired Akshay Naheta, founder of London-based asset management firm Knight Assets & Co., to help manage SoftBank’s $100 billion private equity fund “Vision Fund”. Naheta was a former trader at Deutsche Bank AG. He founded Knight in 2011 to focus on what he called “constructive activism.” In his new role at SoftBank, he will guide the fund’s private equity investments and potential acquisitions.
Bain Capital Ventures hired venture capitalist Yumin Choi as a managing director to lead the firm's health care investments. Choi joined from HLM Venture Partners, where he led early- and growth-stage investments across health care information technology, health care services and medical devices. With Bain, Choi will be based in Boston and will focus on health care domestic investments.
Liu Yiran, former director at Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, joined Hangzhou, China-based venture capital firm Vision Plus Capital, a $290 million venture capital firm focusing on the internet, consumer products and health care. Vision Plus is founded by Alibaba Group co-founder Wu Yongming and Qiming Venture Partners Wang Qi. The firm manages both U.S. dollar funds and RMB funds.
Kayode Akinola and Marlon Chigwende, the former regional heads of Africa at private equity giants KKR and Carlyle, left the firms to set up an investment firm called Arkana Partners. The new firm will focus on local equity investments with a targeted $100 million initial fund.
Click here to see Trusted Insight’s previous people moves recap.