Chief investment officer of Berkeley Endowment Management Company to step down

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John-Austin Saviano is stepping down as president and chief investment officer of the Berkeley Endowment Management Company, or BEMCO.

José Rodriguez, the editorial director of university development and alumni relations, said in an email that a subcommittee of the BEMCO board will be working with the staff in order to ensure a smooth transition. BEMCO was created by the UC Berkeley Foundation, or UCBF, in 2009 as a nonprofit subsidiary to manage its investments; the endowment for the UC regents is managed separately.

In response to Saviano stepping down from his position, UCBF President Julie Hooper issued a statement summarizing Saviano’s time and contributions to BEMCO.

“John-Austin served as BEMCO’s first president and CIO. He helped to establish the management company, recruit the team, and develop the organization’s professional culture,” Hooper said in an email. “He has decided to leave BEMCO after eight years in search of his next challenge, which is to create his own investment advisory firm. We thank him for his many contributions and wish all the best of success in his future endeavors.”

UC Berkeley’s endowment is made up of funds raised from the UCBF valued at $1.6 billion, and funds raised from the UC regents valued at $2.3 billion.

Scott Biddy, former president of the UCBF, said upon BEMCO’s launch in 2009 that with the state’s portion of the campus budget decreasing, managing and growing the endowment was key in order for the campus to achieve a secure financial future.

BEMCO was the first professional management group to oversee endowments out of all UC campuses. Since 2009, other UC campus foundations have followed in UC Berkeley’s footsteps and have arranged for similar frameworks to manage their endowments, Rodriguez said in an email.

Saviano could not be reached for comment as of press time.

A nationwide search will take place to appoint a new president and chief investment officer, but as of now, it is too early to report on discussions taking place, Rodriguez said in an email.

“The work of BEMCO is key to ensuring Berkeley’s place as the world’s preeminent public teaching and research university, and we look to the future of our endowment with the utmost confidence,” Hooper said in a statement. “We are excited to build on BEMCO’s solid structure and to realize an even greater vision for the future.”

Contact Ananya Sreekanth at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @asreekanth_dc.