NYU appoints Michelle Knudsen as new CIO

Photo credit: Camila Falquez for the Mellon Foundation

By Muskan Arora

New York University appointed Michelle Knudsen as the new CIO, succeeding Kathleen Jacobs, on Tuesday. The appointment will be effective at the end of June 2024.

Jacobs stepped down in October to serve as the CIO for RWJ Barnabas Health, and during her tenure, scored some of the highest returns in the endowment circle.

Currently, Knudsen isa senior portfolio manager at the $8.1 billion Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which provides grants supporting arts and culture, higher learning, humanities, and public knowledge. She is responsible for managing the investment analysts.

She joins at a critical time for NYU’s investment office as it faces pressure from both inside and outside. Numerous key staff members have departed the investment office, and the students are calling for certain divestments related to Israel-Hamas war.

Prior to working at Mellon Foundation for almost five years, Knudsen served as the head of absolute return and credit strategies at Partners Capital LLP for nine years.

Before that, she was working as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs for almost two years.

“She brings excellent experience to the position and impressed me and members of the Investment Committee with her insights, her understanding of NYU’s needs, and her team management skills,” said NYU Executive Vice President Martin Dorph in a press release.

The NYU endowment had $5.9 billion in assets as of August 31, 2023. The fund has returned an annualized 7.1% over the past 20 years. Distributions from the endowment provide 4% of NYU’s operating budget.

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