Children’s Health — a major Dallas-based pediatric care system — has found its next chief investment officer in the upper ranks of Carnegie Corp. of New York.
Ken Lee started at Children’s Health Monday, a spokesperson confirmed to Institutional Investor. He’s responsible for a roughly $1.5 billion portfolio of endowment and other assets, or close to $2 billion with treasury finances included, a knowledgeable source said.
Lee is at least the third senior investment staff member to leave Carnegie for an executive-level job elsewhere in the past six weeks. Kim Lew departed to lead the vaunted Columbia University endowment and women’s college Bryn Mawr hired managing director Brooke Jones as its inaugural CIO last month.
Children’s Health had been without a permanent investment leader for more than a year.
Ryan Bailey stepped down last August after building out the operation for five years to launch a startup firm. He and another Children’s Health alum, Dani Harris, are now at Carbonado Partners, which supports young investment management outfits with raising their first funds, becoming so-called “institutional quality,” and facilitating deals.
“I’ve gotten to know Ken, and I think he’s a great choice,” Bailey said of his successor. “I want him to do really well for the mission of Children’s — and I believe that he will.”
Lee is the nonprofit’s first investor with the official “chief” title; Bailey led the portfolio but as “head of investments.”
Two prominent veterans of the Texas institutional community stepped in to help oversee Children’s portfolio during its search for a permanent leader. Jerry Albright and Laurie Dotter — former CIO and director at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas — have been serving as interim leaders for about a year, and are expected to stay on through the leadership transition, per sources.
Two core members of Bailey’s former team also remain: Christie Hamilton in investments and operations director Ryan Quinn.
Lee arrives at Children’s Health after eight years with one of the country’s most respected and highest performing institutional funds. Under Lew’s leadership, Carnegie’s $3.5 billion portfolio delivered top-decile returns among its peer group, a private database shows.
The team had little turnover until the recent rash of departures. In each case, the recruiting organizations offered Carnegie staffers the opportunity to run bigger funds — Lew’s now in charge of $11 billion or so at Columbia University — or level up in position, as with managing directors-turned-CIOs Lee and Jones.
Carnegie has yet to announce an interim chief, and industry watchers expect that the organization will conduct a full-fledged external search for a new leader. Like the recruiting processes that Lew, Lee, and Jones recently won, the race to become Carnegie’s next CIO is expected to be highly competitive.