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National Gallery of Art Seeks New Investment Chief

Longtime director Tykie Tobin plans to retire, and the $850 million endowment in Washington is searching for a successor, Institutional Investor has learned.

  • Leanna Orr

The National Gallery of Art in Washington needs a new director of investments to succeed its retiring endowment chief, according to recruiter Anne Fraser Keating.

George-Ann (Tykie) Tobin plans to retire in the fall after a long tenure leading the $850 million museum endowment. Keating, the founder of executive search firm Fraser Keating Associates, said she is “in the process of identifying and vetting candidates” to present to National Gallery leadership, and open to interested applicants.

After a long career at the Gallery, Tobin is retiring to the West Coast to be close to her family, according to a spokesperson.

Keating detailed the qualifications needed for her replacement. “We're looking for someone who has worked in a similar setting — an endowment, foundation, family office, plan sponsor, investment consultancy — and has a broad-based background across a number of asset classes, including hedge funds,” she said. 

Hedge funds-of-funds represented a fifth of the endowment’s portfolio as recently as September 2016, according to the National Gallery of Art’s financial statements. Tobin and the institution’s governance committee built a fund heavy on growth assets, including a 55 percent allocation to public equities (roughly half U.S.); 5 percent to private equity and venture capital; and 4 percent for a so-called side-pocket for investments in alternative assets. Rounding out these exposures are fixed-income at 9 percent and about 2 percent in an inflation-hedging bucket of TIPS, commodities, and master-limited partnership assets.

The investment director guides the endowment portfolio alongside the finance committee and oversees cash management, according to a job description from Keating. Tobin also has worked closely with an investment consultant during her tenure. The role is the National Gallery of Art’s top investment position, reporting to Treasurer William McClure who, in turn, reports to the gallery’s Director Earl Powell.

Finance committee members include high-profile investors David Rubenstein, co-founder of Washington-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group, and Chair Mitchell Rales, co-founder of business conglomerate Danaher Corp.

Compensation estimates do not appear in the job description, nor did the National Gallery disclose Tobin’s pay among its highest earners on its last two Internal Revenue Service filings. But the reported total pay packages fall roughly in line with industry standard for elite non-profit institutions in Washington. Treasurer McClure, for example, earned $527,000 in 2015, while the chief financial officer at the American Red Cross made $454,000 in 2014, according to the most recent years made available in IRS filings.