Harvard Paid Endowment Chief Narvekar $6.25 Million for 2019


N.P. “Narv” Narvekar, the head of Harvard University’s endowment, was paid $6.25 million in 2019 as he pressed ahead with a plan to turn around its performance.

Narvekar’s compensation declined from the previous year when a one-time payout increased the total to $8.6 million. The school’s $41.9 billion is the largest in U.S. higher education.

Narvekar took over the endowment in December 2016 to revamp the investment office after the school’s performance ranked at the bottom of the Ivy League. Harvard’s endowment returned 7.3% in the fiscal ended June 2020. The S&P 500 index rose 7.5% in that period, with dividends reinvested. In the prior fiscal year, the fund rose 6.5%.

“The entire board is encouraged by the quick progress that Narv and his team have made to improve HMC’s structure and portfolio,” Paul Finnegan, chairman of Harvard Management Co.’s board of directors, said in a statement Friday. “There is much left for HMC to accomplish, but the progress to date has been very encouraging and bodes well for the long-term success that Harvard relies on from its endowment.”

Harvard said Narvekar’s 2018 compensation reflected guaranteed future payouts. Excluding those, his pay was $7.2 million.

Sanjeev Daga, the endowment’s chief operating officer, received $6.3 million, according to the school’s tax filing.

Richard Slocum, Narvekar’s No. 2 as chief investment officer, got $5 million. Lawrence Bacow, the university’s president, received $1.2 million, the filing shows.

Under Narvekar, Harvard Management adopted a new investment model in which managers focus on all assets rather than specific sectors such as private equity or hedge funds. As part of that, the endowment team’s compensation is tied to long-term returns and the fund’s overall performance.

Narvekar came to Harvard from Columbia University’s endowment and reduced the staff and dumped assets that hadn’t been performing well, including real estate and farmland.

Harvard’s finances have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s putting more pressure on Narvekar and his team to bolster performance.

In fiscal 2020, the endowment contributed more than $2 billion for expenses including financial aid, academic programs, faculty salaries and scientific research.

“The challenges that arose from the Covid-19 pandemic placed a unique strain on the university’s finances,” Finnegan said. “Thankfully, the endowment allowed Harvard to continue to support its academic aims while also helping to fill unforeseen budget gaps.”

The compensation figures in the school’s tax filing are for the calendar year, while Harvard reports investment returns for fiscal years ending June. The performance for such periods is typically released around September.

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