Harvard Endowment Chief Was Paid $8.6 Million in 2018

N.P. “Narv” Narvekar, the head of Harvard University’s endowment, was paid $8.6 million in 2018, his second full year of an overhaul aimed at bolstering its performance.

Narvekar got a base salary of almost $1 million, bonus and incentive pay of $1.25 million, and deferred compensation of $1.32 million, according to a tax filing released Friday. He also received $5 million in other pay and benefits that weren’t specified. The package made him the highest paid person at the school.

Harvard Endowment Chief Was Paid $8.6 Million in 2018

The Harvard endowment, the biggest of any U.S. university at about $41 billion, gained 10% in fiscal 2018, beating the average of college endowments but trailing wealthy schools including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ivy League peer Dartmouth College.

Narvekar was hired to revamp the investment office, Harvard Management Co., and turn around performance after the school found itself at the bottom of the Ivy League. The former head of Columbia University’s endowment, he slashed headcount at the Boston investment office to less than 150 from 300 and unloaded poor-performing assets, including private equity, real estate and farmland.

While his performance improved in the last two years, Harvard still lags behind the some Ivy League peers and posted an annualized return of 8.2% over three years through June last year.

As part of his hiring, Harvard agreed to guarantee some of Narvekar’s compensation for three years, resulting in a payment of more than $6 million in 2018, which included a discretionary bonus.

Harvard said in a press release on Friday that in 2018 Narvekar was actually paid $7.2 million, and that the total figure in the tax filing was inflated due to IRS reporting rules, which require some contractual obligations be accounted for in that year.

Narvekar’s compensation in 2017 totaled $13.1 million, according to a tax filing. Harvard said last year his actual pay was $9.2 million. Most of the rest of that sum accounted for various contractual obligations.

Richard Slocum, Narvekar’s No. 2 as Harvard Management’s chief investment officer, was paid $6.2 million in 2018, according to the tax filing. Lawrence Bacow, the university’s president who was hired in mid-2018, was paid $570,072 for that year.

A number of Harvard’s elite peers including Yale University have yet to report compensation for 2018. Brown University said Joseph Dowling, its top endowment official, made almost $1.3 million two years ago while Cornell University’s CIO Ken Miranda got almost $1.9 million.

The disclosure of 2018 compensation comes during a grim period for higher education as the coronavirus pandemic has upended the economics of colleges, even at elite institutions like Harvard. The university based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, facing $1.2 billion in revenue shortfalls over the next two years, said in April it was freezing hiring and salaries, while senior school administrators took pay cuts.

Harvard declined to comment on whether anyone in the investment office has taken a pay cut but said they’re “exploring the most effective ways to follow the university’s lead.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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