Eric Doppstadt Goes From Lawyer to Leader

Eric Doppstadt takes over as new CIO for Ford’s $9.2 billion endowment.


When Eric Doppstadt joined the Ford Foundation nearly 20 years ago as an in-house counsel to the investment team, he wasn’t planning to abandon the law and pursue a career in portfolio management. But 14 years after switching from a legal to an investment role — a transition he made with the help of his mentor, then-CIO Linda Strumpf — Doppstadt assumes responsibility for the $9.2 billion endowment as Ford’s new CIO.

Guiding the nation’s second-largest private foundation by assets under management through turbulent securities markets will be no mean feat. The 49-year-old is confident, however, that with Ford’s cash reserves and liquidity, he will be able to take advantage of some of the pricing dislocations in the months ahead. What he won’t do is emulate his mentor’s legendary passion for scuba diving with sharks in the open ocean. “All I can say is that there are enough predators in the financial world,” he quips. “I prefer to spend my leisure time doing things that don’t involve risking my life.”