CIOs at Florida and Cornell Universities Quit

Michael Smith at UF and James Walsh at Ivy League Cornell cite personal reasons, pursuit of new challenges.

(February 19, 2010) – The University of Florida and Cornell University will lose their chief investment officers.


University of Florida’s CIO Michael Smith will leave the university at the end of March to join Global Endowment Management as a partner.


After joining the university in 2004 as its first CIO, Smith helped launch the University of Florida Investment Corporation (UFICO), a management firm set up to oversee university investments. During his six years at the university, Smith was responsible for overall strategy and private investments, contributing to the growth of the university’s endowment from about $740 million in June 2004 to just over $1 billion last June, according to Chris Brazda at the University of Florida Foundation. At the end of fiscal 2008, the fund reached a high of $1.6 billion.


The University of Florida’s  endowment declined 19.2% to $1.01 billion in fiscal 2009.


Cornell University will also lose its CIO, James Walsh, who plans to step down at the end of the academic year.


Walsh, 43, joined the Ivy League university in 2006. Previously, he headed strategy at Hermes Pensions Management Ltd. in London. He will be returning to England.


Cornell University’s endowment lost 26% in fiscal 2009. It stood at $3.97 billion as of June 30 and, according to IM Weekly, it’s up 10% for the current fiscal year.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href=''></a>; 646-308-2742