Amherst Hires New CIO, Moves Investment Office to Boston

Cambridge Associates veteran Letitia Johnson has been tapped to lead the nearly $3 billion fund.

Letitia Johnson (courtesy photo)

Letitia Johnson

(courtesy photo)

Amherst College has appointed a Cambridge Associates managing director as the chief investment officer of its nearly $3 billion fund, the school announced Thursday.

Letitia Johnson had been an endowment and foundation team lead at Cambridge since 2015. She will succeed current Amherst CIO Mauricia Geissler effective September 9, 2019, according to the college’s statement.

Johnson and the fund’s six-person investment team will work in a new office in Boston, roughly two hours from their current location in Amherst, according to a spokesperson for the university.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Amherst College community,” Johnson said in a statement. “Being able to focus on and contribute to one single portfolio and mission is a wonderful opportunity.”

[II Deep Dive: The Endowment Location Conundrum]

A Cambridge Associates veteran, Johnson has worked at the Boston-based consulting firm since 2006. In her latest role leading the endowment and foundation team, Johnson managed more than ten portfolios and clients with combined assets of over $7 billion, according to the Amherst statement.

At Amherst, she will be responsible for managing a $2.9 billion portfolio made up of endowments for Amherst College and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., as well as long-term college reserves. She will report to Kevin Weinman, Amherst’s chief finance and administrative officer.

“In Letitita, we have found an experienced investor with excellent leadership skills, high EQ, humility, and vision,” said Simon Krinsky, chair of the Amherst investment committee. “In short, we have found the person we need to steward our endowment for many years to come.”

Johnson is only the second chief investment officer to be appointed at Amherst. Her predecessor, Mauricia Geissler, was hired as the college’s first CIO in 2003.

During Geissler’s 16-year tenure as CIO, the college’s endowment grew from about $900 million to $2.4 billion, according to the statement.

“She built the investment function at Amherst College from scratch and leaves behind a talented and dedicated team of professionals committed to the ongoing success of the college,” Krinsky said. “On behalf of the investment committee of the board of trustees, I thank Mauricia for her incredible work.”