An Ohio State official said he left the university because he didn’t feel he was able to achieve all he wanted to for the Office of Investments.
Former chief investment officer Jonathan Hook announced his resignation from the position in an April 14 letter to senior vice president for optimization and integration and Wexner Medical Center chief transformation officer Geoff Chatas. The letter was forwarded to The Lantern by university spokesman Gary Lewis, and it states Hook’s resignation is effective May 15.
In an interview with The Lantern, Hook said he came to OSU to create an investment office that was under “best practices,” but he did not think he had a conducive environment to do that.
“Some things we just were not able to get done, things the school did not want to do, my decision was the school was not going to move forward to help us get to best practices,” Hook said. “So my decision was if the school was not going to finish the job I’d make the decision to go elsewhere.
“You can be frustrated about things that aren’t happening but I think it’s up to the individual to decide what to do.”
He said OSU is different in its approach to running its investment office when compared to other schools.
“Almost all of our peers have a different setup in that the investment office is protected from some outside forces from the release of confidential information, and that sometimes inhibits Ohio State from hiring certain managers, as many want to keep confidentially around their records. We are one of the few subject to the Freedom of Information (Act),” he said. “It’s a big distraction having to work through those issues.”
Hook said not adjusting the office’s setup puts OSU “at a competitive disadvantage frequently,” but added that OSU has the right to not pursue other options.
Hook joined the university in August 2008, establishing and directing the Office of Investments. His 2013 salary was $627,300. Prior to his time at OSU, Hook started the investment office at Baylor University and served as its chief investment officer.
Chatas announced Hook’s resignation in an April 17 email.
“Although we will miss Jonathan, we celebrate the many ways in which he has strengthened us to lasting benefit. Since joining Ohio State in 2008, he has installed and nurtured a highly professional investment team and approach,” Chatas wrote. “During his tenure, Ohio State’s portfolio has performed well, focusing on strong risk management and diversified investments and generating additional resources to support the work of faculty, staff and students.”
Hook has accepted a new position as the first chief investment officer of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Inc. in Baltimore, effective May 15.
“The opportunity came to me with the foundation and I think they have a fantastic mission, which is to help the disadvantaged poor, and a lot of that entails the elderly poor,” Hook said. “That resonated with me, as it’s an area where philanthropic efforts need to be raised across the country.”
He said he is excited for the opportunity.
“They have a top notch management team and board. I want to go in, really create what they want, set up a great system, and hopefully the money will grow to where we can give more gifts to the people that need it,” he said.
Replacing Hook in an interim role is director of liquid strategies David Gilmore. Hook said he feels he is leaving the investment office in capable hands.
“I wish my team the best,” Hook said. “The office is filled with professionals who will continue to do a great job going forward.”
Gilmore joined OSU in 2009 and works with liquid investments for the long-term investment pool. His 2013 salary was $260,004.
According to Chatas’ email, the search for a permanent replacement for Hook was set to commence “in the coming weeks.”
OSU spokesman Gary Lewis reiterated Thursday that Gilmore has taken on the interim CIO role when asked whether the search has started.
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