Brown endowment splits CIO/CEO roles

  • Assets under management: $3.5 bln
  • PE/VC allocation: 21 pct
  • Why this is important: The new structure will help optimize the endowment’s PE structure


Brown University Investment Office, which has a 21 percent allocation to private equity, added the new position of chief executive officer and announced a new chief investment officer, effective July 1.

Joseph Dowling, the CIO, will take over the CEO role, while Jane Dietze, who joined the endowment last year as a managing director, will become CIO, Brown said.

Joshua Kennedy, who joined the endowment in 2016 and had a particular focus on real assets and direct investments, was made a managing director.

“The complexity and scope of the requirements of the role of chief investment officer for Brown have continued to grow,” said University Trustee Robert Goodman in a statement.

Joseph Dowling III, CEO, Brown University Investment Office. Photo courtesy of the office.

“We recognized an opportunity to separate the core executive and investment functions into two complementary roles, and this will truly optimize the incredible talent in the investment office.”

The $3.5 billion endowment is managed by a 21-member team.

Brown’s PE portfolio is made up of commitments to buyouts and growth equity, venture capital and turnaround opportunities.

“Improving the quality of this mix — through new investments, reinvestments, co-investments and secondary transactions — is among the investment office’s highest priorities,” the 2017 annual report said.

The endowment will exit some legacy investments as they mature or are liquidated in the secondaries market, the report said.

The office’s PE portfolio was $720 million in 2017. Buyouts and growth equity accounted for 46 percent at $347 million, venture capital was $302 million and remaining strategies were $71 million in the private equity asset class, Brown University data shows.

The investment office does not publish asset-class returns, but annualized returns for the endowment over three, five, 10 and 20 years are 5.8, 9.1, 5.2 and 8.6 percent, respectively.

Dowling joined the endowment in 2013. He previously was founder and CEO of Narragansett Asset Management, where he invested on behalf of institutional investors.

Dietze previously was director of PE at Bowdoin College. Before that she was a managing director in the credit-funds group at Fortress Investment Group.

She has also worked at Columbia Capital Corp, the World Bank’s private investment arm and Goldman Sachs.

Action Item: Read more on Brown’s investments here