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CIO of NYU’s Endowment Announces Departure

Tina Surh, who oversaw a revamp of New York University’s endowment, will leave at the end of the year.

The head of New York University’s $3.5 billion endowment, Tina Surh, has resigned effective December 31. New York University board members and investment office staff were informed of the departure by email yesterday afternoon. After 10 years in the NYU investment office, five of them as its head, friends say Surh made the decision that it was the right time for her to leave.

Through the five years ending September 30, the NYU endowment achieved an annualized return of 8.5 percent, 140 basis points ahead of its benchmark. For the year-to-date through September, the endowment is up 6.2 percent. During her time at NYU, Surh worked closely with former hedge fund manager and NYU board member Michael Steinhardt, who had served as chair of the investment committee until he resigned in June. His replacement hasn’t yet been named.

“She did a terrific job,” says Steinhardt. “She was extremely diligent and at times creative. She is a real pro.”

The board has hired a search firm to recruit Surh’s replacement. Marty Kelly, the current director of investments, will supervise the investment office in the interim.

Surh arrived at NYU in early 2005 from the Princeton University Investment Company. Prior to joining the investment team at Princeton in 2002, Surh was a director and private equity portfolio manager with DCMI.

Surh graduated from Tufts University where she majored in drama, and has an MBA from Harvard University. She serves on the Tufts board of trustees as well as the board of advisers for Tuft’s Tisch College and is on the investment committee for the Salvation Army.

Surh was appointed acting CIO for NYU’s endowment in October 2009 after the retirement of her predecessor Maurice Maertens. She was named CIO in July 2010. Surh has been credited with modernizing the investment portfolio, which has grown from $1.5 billion to $3.5 billion, improving returns and reducing risk.

Get more on foundations and endowments.

Follow Imogen Rose-Smith on Twitter at @imogennyc.

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