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Cornell names manager of U.K.'s largest pension fund as chief investment officer

James Walsh, executive director of strategy and alternatives for Hermes Pensions Management in London, the United Kingdom's largest pension fund, will become Cornell's chief investment officer (CIO), managing the university's $5 billion endowment. Walsh, who takes over his new post in September, is so well known for his economic insight that in 1999 he won The Independent newspaper's Golden Guru award for his forecast of the British economy in 1998.

"James Walsh represents the future of the robust management of Cornell's assets," said Cornell President David Skorton. "In the years ahead, with James' expert skills and with the continued leadership of the superb individuals on the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, our prospects are bright to realize the university's aspirations."

In his new position, Walsh reports to the administration and to the Investment Committee. He will manage 18 investment professionals.

Walsh replaces Don Fehrs, who resigned in January but remained through April to facilitate the transition.

"Cornell has been well served in the last four months by interim CIO Pat Johnson, and we look forward to Mr. Walsh's arrival," said Stephen T. Golding, Cornell executive vice president for finance and administration.

Said Cornell trustee Paul Gould, chair of the Investment Committee: "The Investment Committee of Cornell's Board of Trustees is pleased to welcome James Walsh. He has exceptional experience managing large assets, and the committee is looking forward to working closely with him and its subcommittees in maintaining Cornell's solid investment performance."

Walsh earned his bachelor's degree with honors in economics from Brunel University, London, in 1989, and his master's degree in economics from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 1991.

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Blaine Friedlander