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American Red Cross to Outsource Investments

In a surprise move, CIO Greg Williamson has been dismissed to make way for an outsourced-CIO search.

  • By Amy Whyte

The American Red Cross has decided to outsource its investment management and lay off Chief Investment Officer Greg Williamson.

Williamson’s departure comes two and half years after joining the non-profit group. The search for an outsourced-CIO replacement is in its beginning stages, according to a spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

“We have decided to change the investment strategies of the pension and the endowment funds, and we will no longer have the scale to require the expense of funding an in-house investment management team,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We will need to eliminate the position of the chief investment officer, and, as a result, CIO Greg Williamson will be departing the Red Cross at the end of December.”

Williamson was hired by the American Red Cross in 2015 after serving seven years as CIO at BP America, where he oversaw both pension assets and the BP Foundation. He joined BP in 1998 when the oil company acquired Amoco Corp., where Williamson had been working since 1991.

At the American Red Cross, Williamson has overseen assets tied to its defined benefit, defined contribution, endowment, and non-endowment funds. When he joined the non-profit organization, Williamson immediately began rebuilding its investment team.

Several staffers left in October 2015, including Deputy CIO Anne Shelton, managing director Edward Karppi, and associate director Jordan Levine. In their place, he hired new talent including Jane Western, formerly head of risk management and operations at Boeing, Carol Anne Lindsey, an alum of George Washington University’s endowment, and Margaret D’Annunzio, a former principal at Mercer.

Williamson’s efforts were recognized by industry peers in late November at Institutional Investor’s first annual Allocators’ Choice Awards event in New York, where he won the Turnaround of the Year prize.

"It has been a privilege to serve as the chief investment officer of The American National Red Cross,” Williamson said in a statement. “I am proud of the transformational actions we have taken, and the investment success achieved, during my tenure.”

[II Deep Dive: The Rising Star Asset Allocators Picked as ‘Next CIO’]

The American Red Cross spokesperson said that the CIO role is the only position impacted at this time by its decision to outsource its investment management.

“The remaining investment team will now report directly to CFO Brian Rhoa, who will be acting CIO until the outsourced agreements and processes are complete,” the spokesperson said.

The American Red Cross will be issuing separate requests for proposals for outsourced-CIO firms to manage its pension and endowment assets, according to the spokesperson.

The outsourcing decision follows a similar move by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which announced in an investor letter last month that it would outsource investments to Edgehill Endowment Partners.

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