Tulane brings on private equity head

One of the most sought-after jobs in the LP universe this past summer was the open private equity chief position with Tulane University’s $1 billion endowment.

The endowment received at least 100 resumes but finally whittled down the candidates to Richard Chau, a former vice president in Bessemer Trust’s private equity group. Chau joined the endowment in September, and has hit the ground running, already making an investment, according to the endowment’s chief investment officer Jeremy Crigler, who declined to tell me who the commitment went to, other than to say it’s in the real estate space.

Prior to Bessemer, Chau worked for two years as an investment analyst at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focusing on the private equity portfolio. Chau replaces Cari Lodge, who left in May to join Commonfund Capital, where she is managing the firm’s secondaries program.

The position looks to be an exciting one as Tulane’s endowment is ramping up its private equity (and overall private investment) activities over the next five years. Tulane wants to go from 12.5 percent in private equity to 20 percent, and from 6.5 percent in real assets to 10 percent, Crigler said. Overall, it wants to expand exposure to private markets from 20 percent to 30 percent, he said.

The endowment is going full-bore into private investments because like so many other institutions, it needs to find asset classes that generate strong returns.

“GDP is going to be slower and bonds are going nowhere, we’re running out of places to generate [the returns] we need,” Crigler said.

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