The head of Harvard University’s endowment informed staff Friday of two more high-level departures, amid a major restructuring as the $37.6 billion fund struggles to boost lagging investment performance.
Marco Barrozo, a fixed-income manager, and Satu Parikh, interim head of natural resources investments, both left Harvard Management Co. on Friday, according to an internal e-mail reviewed by The Boston Globe.
Parikh’s departure was a surprise, coming just days after the endowment chief, Stephen Blyth, complimented his performance in the Harvard fund’s annual report. Earlier this week, Blyth had announced the departure of Alvaro Aguirre, head of the natural resources portfolio, and said Parikh would assume his duties, at least temporarily. All of the moves appeared to be linked to Blyth’s overhaul of the investment group in the wake of a disappointing 5.8 percent return for fiscal 2015. Harvard has been criticized for turning in a poor performance relative to its peers, both recently and over 10 years, while having the highest paid managers.
Yale University’s return last year was nearly double Harvard’s, at 11.5 percent. Blyth, in his first year as head of the Harvard endowment, also trailed Stanford University’s 7 percent gain and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 13.2 percent return.
Blyth took over the fund in January from Jane Mendillo, who led the endowment after its deep losses in the financial crisis and a period of more conservative investing. Blyth, in his annual report last month, made clear that his goal is to restore the endowment’s reputation as a top-tier investment group.
“There is much hard work to be done, but we have gained significant traction in the past nine months,’’ Blyth wrote. “With a team that is fully aligned with our objectives and investment process, I am highly optimistic we will be able to deliver for Harvard.”
The three departures made public this week follow the recently announced retirement of Andrew Wiltshire, Harvard’s head of alternative assets and a timber specialist, who is returning to his native New Zealand.
Wiltshire, Aguirre, and Barrozo were three of the endowment’s highest-paid managers, earning nearly $23 million combined in 2013, according to the latest available university tax filing.
In his e-mail, Blyth said the departing executives’ duties would be “absorbed by their managers” for now. He also reiterated his plan to reinvigorate the group’s investment process.