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Bufferd Will Retire As Treasurer in ’06

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: The Aug. 30 version of this article misstated the growth of MIT’s investments over Treasurer Allan S. Bufferd’s years at MIT. They increased by a factor of 20, from $400 million to $8 billion, not by a factor of about 1,000.

By Kelley Rivoire

President Susan Hockfield’s announcement yesterday that Treasurer Allen S. Bufferd ’59 will retire by the end of this academic year will lead to not only another empty position in MIT’s upper-level administration, but also a major restructuring of MIT’s financial offices.

Bufferd’s duties include both responsibilities as treasurer and manager of MIT’s investments; following his departure, the two will be run by separate administrators. Managing the endowment will be a chief investment officer chosen by the MIT Investment Management Company. The next executive vice president for finance and administration will assume the responsibilities of treasurer, said Senior Advisor to the President Kirk D. Kolenbrander.

Current Executive Vice President John R. Curry will depart from MIT next month; Sherwin Greenblatt ’62 has been appointed the interim executive vice president. A national search is underway by President Hockfield’s office to fill the restructured position, and will likely take many months, Kolenbrander said. Bufferd said he plans to assist with the search processes to fill both positions.

The divergence of the treasurer’s duties has been under consideration in recent years, and was anticipated with the creation last year of MIT’s Investment Management Company, Bufferd said. His departure “presents a really wonderful time” for making the split, he said.

Bufferd joined MIT in 1972, and has served as the chief investment officer for 18 years. Last year, he became the first president of the Investment Management Company.

“The nature of the investment activities has become much more diverse and much more complex. They need focused and dedicated attention. They need to have 110 percent effort by a person overseeing them,” Bufferd said. Virtually all of MIT’s peer institutions have such a model separating the treasurer and investment management roles, he said. In an e-mail to faculty and staff, Hockfield wrote that she believes the “reconfiguration of the management of the Institute’s finances and endowment will increase the effectiveness of all of our financial activities.”

The Institute’s finances have grown dramatically under Bufferd’s tenure. The endowment has increased by a factor of roughly 10 since he came to MIT in the 1970s, a result of gifts and good investment returns, he said.

“The Institute today is a more robust institution financially than it was when I started here in a time period when the financial pressures were somewhat different,” he said.

He said he has been considering his retirement for some time, and his decision was not related to the recent administrative turnover. Not only Bufferd and Curry are leaving MIT. Kathyrn J. Crecelius, managing director for marketable investment alternatives, will become Johns Hopkins University’s chief investment officer by Oct. 1.