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Emory University CIO Mary Cahill to Exit

Mary Cahill is departing the Atlanta endowment, Institutional Investor has learned, with the school planning a search for her replacement.

Emory University’s Chief Investment Officer Mary Cahill plans to depart after nearly 17 years with the school’s investment management company, a spokesperson confirmed Monday to Institutional Investor.

Cahill is retiring effective August 1, the university said in a statement. Emory plans to conduct a search for her replacement, which will be started by executive vice president of business and administration Christopher Augostini. He will take over CIO duties in the interim, the statement said.

Emory Investment Management ran a $6.5 billion portfolio as of August 31, 2016, including endowment and health care assets. Cahill has led the division since January 2001, serving as CIO and senior vice-president of investments. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Prior to joining the Atlanta, Georgia-based private university, Cahill spent time at Xerox’s retirement plan, ending her tenure as deputy chief investment officer in 2000.

She leaves behind a team of approximately 25 people, according to a profile published by the school last year.

Emory returned 1.9 percent for the 2016 fiscal year ending August 31 and 6.2 percent annualized over five years, net of all fees. Most post-secondary institutions follow a June 30 fiscal year, making direct peer performance comparisons challenging. During the 12 months ending last August, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index returned 13 percent compared with Emory’s 1.9 percent, perhaps due to the portfolio’s concentration in hedge funds and away from listed equities.

Emory “continues to maintain a well-diversified portfolio, to invest with best-in-class external partners, and to seek opportunities to add value throughout market cycles,” Cahill said in the 2016 return announcement.

The institution said Cahill “diversified Emory’s portfolio” during her tenure, “and implemented a disciplined and structured investment and operating process that led to growth in endowment assets.”

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