Seattle’s Group Health Foundation has hired a first-time chief investment officer to lead its $1.9 billion portfolio, the organization announced this week.
Muthu Muthiah begins the role in July. He has resigned from Emory University’s investment team, where he spent the last two years as a managing director, his LinkedIn profile shows.
Muthiah’s new role offers the unusual opportunity to build a sizeable portfolio from the ground up. The organization was funded by the 2017 sale of the Group Health Cooperative to Kaiser Permanente. A similar situation recently established New York’s new Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, which has a $3 billion fund.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Muthu Muthiah to steward the foundation’s $1.9 billion in assets,” said Peter van Oppen, chair of Group Health Foundation’s investment committee, in the announcement. “Muthu’s technical expertise, outstanding communication skills, genuine passion, and vision for the foundation’s investment office distinguished his candidacy.”
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At Emory, Muthiah was in charge of a $2 billion sleeve of the $7 billion endowment, the announcement said, and he helped oversee asset allocation, risk management, and manager selection.
Muthiah’s departure adds to recent staff turnover at Emory Investment Management. The underperforming fund replaced its CIO in 2018 with Srinivas Pulavarti, the former investment chief at University of California, Los Angeles. Several staff have left over the year and a half, including Jason Bull, who departed for the University of Georgia, and Zack McGuire, who recently joined Bull there.
“The mission of the foundation to shape health equity in Washington speaks to me,” Muthiah said in the announcement. “I want to come into work every day and know I’m making a difference.”
Over the summer, he will be relocating to Seattle for the CIO job. According to the Group Health Foundation, he “tries to follow investor Charlie Munger’s advice to read broadly and think deeply.”