Harvard loses another private equity investment boss

Feb 12, 2014

Dan Primack was a senior editor at Fortune from 2010 to 2016. He was also the author of Term Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

FORTUNE -- Harvard Management Co. needs to find its third private equity boss in less than a year.

Last October, the $33 billion endowment manager picked Lane MacDonald to fill the position that had been vacant since Peter Dolan’s departure a few months earlier. Now MacDonald has called it quits, after agreeing to become head of Crosby Advisors -- the New Hampshire-based family office for Fidelity Investments' billionaire Johnson clan (Abby,  Ned, etc.).

Unclear so far how this is playing broadly within HMC, given that MacDonald took on the role so recently (and just last month was meeting with GPs). My guess is that most folks will view the Crosby opportunity as one that he just couldn't pass up. After all, MacDonald only was running a small piece of Harvard's endowment, whereas he'll now be leading investments for a family that, as of last check, was worth more than $22 billion.

HMC declined to comment on MacDonald’s move, although we’ve confirmed it with several sources (and The Boston Globe is reporting the same thing). MacDonald – a onetime PE exec at Alta Communications and captain of Harvard's 1989 NCAA championship ice hockey team – also did not reply.

RELATED: Harvard is a great school, but a lousy investor

It appears that HMC’s John Shue will once again serve as interim private equity director while a permanent replacement is found. Shue was believed to be in the running last time around, and a source close to the situation says that the prior search was recent enough that the new one may not need to be quite so exhaustive.

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