Another Leader Exits Harvard Endowment

Alvaro Aguirre-Simunovic is stepping down after the $37.6 billion endowment reported modest returns.

Harvard Management Company’s (HMC) head of natural resources investments is leaving the endowment.

A Harvard spokesman confirmed that Alvaro Aguirre-Simunovic will step down after 12 years with the $37.6 billion fund.

Anguirre-Simunovic’s departure comes a week after HMC reported an investment return of 5.8% for 2015, falling short of the performance of rival endowments such as Yale, which generated returns of 11.5%.

In the annual report, CEO Stephen Blyth cited the fund’s natural resources portfolio as an area in need of improvement, noting its “generally subdued returns.”

Aguirre-Simunovic was one of the HMC’s highest paid executives in 2013, earning $9.6 million, according to Internal Revenue Service tax filings. Only then-president Jane Mendillo and Blyth had higher earnings, with compensations of $9.6 million and $11.5 million, respectively.

Harvard has been criticized for having the highest paid staff among elite US endowments, despite lagging performance. Last year, a group of alumni wrote to university president Drew Faust criticizing pay hikes for endowment officials.

Another top-paid executive, Andrew Wiltshire, announced earlier this month that he would retire later this year. Wiltshire, who served as head of alternative investments, earned $8.5 million in 2013.

The Boston Globe reported the natural resources portfolio will be overseen in the interim by Satu Parikh, head of commodities. It is unclear if Wiltshire will be replaced.

Related: Harvard Under Fire for High Salaries (Again)