Texas Christian University Seeks Its Second CIO

James Hille’s retirement after 15 years at the helm leaves big shoes to fill at the $2 billion endowment.

Texas Christian University (TCU) is looking for a new permanent chief investment officer for its $2 billion endowment after the retirement of James R. Hille, its first and only CIO.  

Hille, who had held the position since 2006, has been temporarily replaced by Jason Safran, who was appointed interim CIO effective Aug. 1. Safran was previously senior asset manager for TCU’s endowment and was responsible for researching and evaluating investment opportunities. Prior to joining TCU’s endowment team in 2012, he was a senior investment analyst for Texas Capital Bank.

According to a job posting on the university’s website, the CIO reports to TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. and is a member of his cabinet.

“The CIO is responsible for providing executive leadership of the investment function with the goal of optimizing performance returns and driving long-term value creation,” said the posting. The CIO’s mandate includes investment policy, asset allocation, portfolio construction, manager selection, and risk management. The CIO will be responsible and accountable for the overall management of the investment portfolio and leadership of the investment office staff.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Defining and implementing the strategic vision for the investment function across all aspects of the investment process;
  • Developing and implementing investment policy, asset allocation strategies, and risk management controls;
  • Sourcing, evaluating, and executing all investment strategies, including the selection and monitoring of external investment managers, and the oversight of all investment activities;
  • Conducting due diligence on prospective opportunities, including qualitative and quantitative analysis of investment strategy, risk, process, organization, portfolio positions, and performance;
  • Evaluating and negotiating management fees and investment guidelines with fund managers;
  • Using data, technology, and reporting systems to ensure effective monitoring of and reporting on investment positions and performance; and
  • Acting as a liaison for assets held in trust by others in which TCU has beneficial interests.

The CIO, who will need at least 10 years of experience as a senior investor on an institutional asset management platform, will also be tasked with reporting to TCU’s chancellor, chief financial officer (CFO), and board of trustees about investment results, investment strategies, and changes in the portfolio, and will also be responsible for attracting, developing, and retaining investment talent.

Additional qualifications include a proven investment track record and a reputation for sound investment judgment and risk management investing across multiple asset classes, including private equity. The posting also noted that while direct private equity investing is not requisite, it “is highly relevant.”

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