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Lila Hunnewell Named BU’s New Chief Investment Officer

Has advised universities, others worth billions

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Lila Hunnewell, who will manage BU’s investments, says the challenge is “to keep the portfolio robust and fresh.” Photo by Cydney Scott

A Harvard-trained investment consultant who has managed portfolios in the billions of dollars and worked with several educational institutions is BU’s new chief investment officer.

Clarissa (Lila) C. Hunnewell assumes the job May 4. She replaces Pamela Peedin, who left last month to take the helm of the investment office at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. Hunnewell currently is managing director at Cambridge Associates, a consulting firm with more than 900 clients worldwide.

“I’m excited to join such a vibrant community that’s working together to meet its new strategic plan and to build upon the terrific accomplishments of the current investment staff and Pam,” Hunnewell says.

Hunnewell is “a very well-respected advisor who deeply understands the roles of endowments in universities,” says University President Robert A. Brown. “Lila will bring a level of experience to Boston University that will lead both the continued growth of our endowment and the role of the Investment Office in stewarding our financial assets.”

Hunnewell will manage day-to-day oversight of the University’s $1 billion-plus endowment, whose investments are approved by the Board of Trustees investment committee. Despite the recession-wracked economy, Peedin earned a 12.7 percent return on the endowment in the last fiscal year, steering investments toward emerging-market stocks in particular.

“As the global economy improves, there’s still plenty of uncertainty,” says Hunnewell. “The challenge is to keep the portfolio, and the balances that have been built in to deal with the uncertainties, robust and fresh.”

Hunnewell studied economics and graduated from Princeton in 1983. She earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School four years later.

In 1991, she joined Cambridge Associates, where her clients have included a $650 million educational institution, a children’s hospital-cum-research institution, pension funds, and a range of educational, cultural, religious, and conservation groups. She also has advised educational institutions’ in-house banks.

Her clients, holding up to $2 billion in assets, earned investment returns that ranged from 11 to 15 percent in fiscal year 2010.

Hunnewell, 49, is a former trustee of the Boston Athenaeum, Miss Porter’s School, in Connecticut, and Beacon Hill Nursery School. She lives in Wellesley with her husband and their two children, Walter, 17, and Clara, 16.

“Lila is a wonderful colleague and talented consultant,” says Sandra Urie, Cambridge Associates CEO and chairwoman. "She will be a valuable member of the Boston University leadership team. While we are sad to see her leave Cambridge Associates, we are pleased that she is joining a university that is part of our extended family."

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on Lila Hunnewell Named BU’s New Chief Investment Officer

  • Anonymous on 03.07.2011 at 1:05 pm

    We must diversify our portfolio, invest in gold….

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