McRaven resigns from investment board

Anusha Lalani

UT System Chancellor William McRaven decided last Wednesday to give up his seat on the board of the University of Texas Investment Management Co. in order to have the position filled by a Texas A&M System representative instead.

The announcement came a day before the UTIMCO board meeting, where the board also approved a change in the name to the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment
Management Company, but will still be known as UTIMCO for short. The change reflects the inclusion of the Texas A&M System, which is also a part of the investment company.

“(McRaven) has appreciated the experience and the exposure to the process by which the investments of the various funds benefitting the UT and Texas A&M systems are governed and managed,” said Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, executive director of media relations and external communications for the UT System, in an email. “As conversations have unfolded between the two systems over the past several months about the opportunity to increase the A&M presence on the board, McRaven willingly volunteered to give up his role on the board.”

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said he approves of McRaven’s decision and the adjustment to the investment company’s name. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Sharp has wanted a stronger A&M presence since he became chancellor in 2011.

“We’re appreciative of these changes that reflect Texas A&M’s historic role in this great endowment,” Sharp said last week in a statement.

UTIMCO is a nonprofit investment company, governed by nine board members, that oversees the $18 billion Permanent University Fund benefiting the UT and A&M Systems.

The UT board currently includes seven UTIMCO directors, three members from the UT System Board of Regents and four members appointed by the UT System Board of Regents. Three of those four from UT must have background knowledge in investments and one member can be the UT chancellor. The A&M board has two members appointed by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, one having background knowledge in investments.

Under state law, the UT System Board of Regents will appoint an A&M System representative. UT System Regent Kevin Eltife told The Daily Texan that A&M deserves to have more representation in the investment company because the decisions made impact A&M’s System.

“The A&M System obviously has a vested interest in the investments that UTIMCO oversees, and I think it’s an effort to give the A&M System a little more oversight,” Eltife said. “I applaud Chairman (Jeffery) Hildebrand and Chancellor McRaven for going in this direction.”

McRaven’s decision to step down from UTIMCO comes shortly after he discontinued his plans for a data center in Houston, which caused controversy in the Texas Legislature. However, LaCoste-Caputo and Eltife said McRaven’s removal from UTIMCO’s board and the Houston land purchase are unrelated to one another.

The next Board of Regents meeting is May 9 and 10 where, according to the Statesman, the regents will approve of the changes.