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Denison CIO Adele Gorrilla Quits for Family Office

A search is underway for a new leader of the $750 million university endowment.

  • Leanna Orr

Denison University’s CIO Adele Gorrilla is stepping down after eight years at the Ohio-based endowment, she confirmed to Institutional Investor.

Gorrilla’s next position takes her to an unspecified family office in Philadephia. The role begins in early January, she said.

Denison has begun recruiting for Gorrilla’s replacement at the helm of its $750 million endowment, and the administrators did not publicly name an interim CIO.

She leaves behind a five-person team at the school’s investment office, including senior managers David Barcus and Josh Beitzel, two analysts, and an administrator. The endowment is better resourced than typical nonprofit funds of its size, according to the most recent NACUBO-Commonfund survey. U.S. endowments worth $500 million to $1 billion averaged 2.5 full-time investment staffers — half the size of Denison’s team.

Gorrilla enters her next role in Philidelphia with some experience managing family and high-net-worth individuals’ assets. After completing a bachelor’s degree, she spent two years as a Goldman Sachs analyst before joining multi-family office Okabena Investment Services in Minneapolis.

Her tenure at Denison began in the throes of the financial crisis — October 2008 — and ends with an endowment roughly 40 percent larger than what it was in her first year.

Denison’s next CIO will inherit a private-markets-heavy portfolio, according to Denison’s FY2016 financial statements. Hedge funds make up roughly 37 percent, private equity (22 percent) outweighs listed equities (19 percent), and slightly more of the school’s money is in real assets (9 percent) than fixed income (7 percent). Whatever her successor’s strategic vision, Gorrilla’s legacy will also guide Denison’s endowment for several years to come.