Yale Names Alex Banker Interim Endowment Chief, Plans Search

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Alex Banker was appointed to run Yale University’s $31.2 billion endowment on an interim basis following the death this week of longtime Chief Investment Officer David Swensen.

Yale President Peter Salovey plans to announce a process for appointing a successor, university spokeswoman Karen Peart said Friday in an emailed statement.

Banker, 60, joined the endowment in 1997 and oversees risk management and capital markets activities.

Prior to coming to Yale, he was a senior manager at Coopers & Lybrand in Boston. He received an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in 1983 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1991.

Swensen, who died Wednesday at age 67 after a long battle with cancer, ran the endowment since 1985. He was credited with changing the model for institutional investing, moving away from traditional stocks and bonds and into private equity, hedge funds and venture capital.

Yale, which could have its pick of CIOs, probably will opt for an alumnus of the investment office who has worked for Swensen and someone young enough to be in the job for a few decades, said Charles Skorina, an executive recruiter specializing in asset management.

Skorina said his first calls would be to Massachusetts Institute of Technology CIO Seth Alexander, followed by Stanford University’s Rob Wallace.

“You could argue that Swensen was a huge speculative hire,” Skorina said. “He was a kid with no endowment experience and a couple of years on Wall Street. But there’s a lot of Yale alumni talent out there.”

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