Penn State Needs a New CIO

Endowment searching for a successor to newly retired first chief financial official.

Penn State’s $4 billion endowment is searching for a new chief investment officer, now that its long-time leader has departed.

The university posted the inquiry in January. It is not clear if Sonali Dalal, the fund’s deputy CIO, is currently acting as its interim chief.

Whoever takes over will cover the portfolio management of the Long-Term Investment Pool and Non-Endowed Funds while also taking on the job of risk officer for the university’s investment programs.

The new chief will have some big shoes to fill as John Pomeroy, the organization’s first CIO, retired in December after 17 years in the role.

However, Pomeroy’s retirement won’t be solely on the golf course as the former head plans on keeping busy by serving on “various” boards, particularly the Mutual Fund Board of Directors, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Penn State has several requirements for finding its new CIO, who will report to David Branigan, the university’s executive director of investment management. For starters, the winner must be a CFA charter-holder. Second, Pomeroy’s successor must have a bachelor’s degree and 12 years of related experience or an equivalent combination of the two. The university’s investment management office prefers a master’s degree in finance or related discipline along with 15 years of related experience.

The university also seeks strong project management and leadership skills. And the next CIO must be a savvy networker and team player, as he or she will be collaborating between the investment management office as well as with the University Board of Trustees, University Corporate Controller’s Office, and peer institutions including the Big Ten endowments. The Big Ten is a group of the top 14 (originally 10) universities with large athletic programs.

The gig should pay between $500,000 and $800,000 yearly, says Charles Skorina, who runs the Scottsdale, Arizona-based CIO and fund executive recruiting firm Charles Skorina and Company. He also said that there are three specific skills that endowments look for when they choose their CIOs: interpersonal skills, staff management, and horizontal investment expertise.

“Usually they want someone from another endowment who has experience with and exposure to multi-asset investing,” he told CIO, adding that interpersonal, organization, and investment skills were requested by the University of California when it searched for its chief, which went to Jagdeep Bachher. “Most CIOs [also] have to be likeable and skilled at board management.”

Interested investment professionals must submit both a cover letter and a resume. The application can be found on Penn State’s job board.

Branigan and Dalal were unable to be reached for comment.

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