Scoop of the Week: New York University’s Chief Investment Officer Leaves

Kathleen Jacobs, Chief Investment Officer of New York University’s endowment stepped down from her position on Sept. 30, to leave for "another opportunity" outside of NYU, according to multiple industry sources. Jacobs had been at the endowment since 2015, helping to grow the endowment 68.6% from $3.5 billion to $5.9 billion. She leaves on a high note, having grown the endowment from $5.3 in August 31, 2022 despite the challenges endowments face following the pandemic.

She had previously worked as managing director in the office of investments at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a senior investor at The Juilliard School endowment, and a vice president at both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. She reported to Martin Dorph, executive vice president of Finance and Technology.

Due to capital inflows and performance, the value of NYU’s Endowment has increased by approximately 8.0% per year over the past 20 years and has returned 7.3% (annualized and net of fees) versus the benchmark’s 6.1% return, according to a 2022 report. 

NYU's Executive Vice President Martin Dorph issued a statement on her behalf, noting how she was a "dedicated and valued colleague, working tirelessly to ensure the success of the investment program," and that "The University community will benefit from her contributions as CIO for years to come."

In eight years, Jacobs built an award winning investment team, "transformed and institutionalized the University endowment, created a best in class investment office and program, and generated strong investment returns, significantly exceeding the policy benchmark" while fully restructuring of the NYU Endowment in a way that aligned the portfolio with the Investment Committee’s risk perspective.  Then she took on the added responsibility of managing the NYU Law School Foundation’s endowment, which previously had been independently managed, according Dorph's statement.

"Her departure comes following a year where endowment returns meaningfully outperformed both the policy benchmark and peers," Dorph wrote, and wished her well. 

By Christine Giordano