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National Gallery of Art Lands New Investment Chief

The sought-after position has gone to Christine Kelleher, a placement agent and former acting CIO of Georgetown University’s endowment.

  • Leanna Orr

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has hired a successor for its retiring endowment chief, according to recruiter Anne Fraser Keating, who led the months-long search.

Christine Kelleher starts September 5 as chief of investments for the $850 million museum endowment, replacing George-Ann (Tykie) Tobin, said Keating, founder of executive search firm Fraser Keating Associates. Kelleher has spent the last four and a half years as a managing director with Avec Capital, a small New York-based placement agency specializing in alternative assets.

“There was a very high level of interest in the role,” Keating said by phone. “We conducted a national search, and found many extremely qualified candidates.”

Asked why Kelleher won the position, Keating credited “her background helping build the investment office at Georgetown, her recent role at Avec where she conducted due diligence on managers, and her early background in the liberal arts.” The recruitment firm founder added that “all of that combines to make her a flexible and broad intellect — and a good judge of investment managers.”

In 2004, Kelleher joined Georgetown University’s nascent investment office as an executive assistant, according to her LinkedIn profile. By 2011, she was acting as chief investment officer for the school’s endowment and retirement portfolios.

Kelleher did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn email seeking comment about her new position.

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As recently as May, National Gallery’s current chief of investments, Tobin, was planning to retire to the West Coast to be close to her family, a spokesperson for the museum said at the time.

Tobin has worked closely with an investment consultant during her tenure, as well as a star-studded board. 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.

Tobin and a spokesperson for the National Gallery didn’t reply to emails seeking comment.