Mac to bring on new chief investment officer in Nov.

By Max Loos

Macalester has hired Mansco Perry III as its new Chief Investment Officer to replace longtime CIO Craig Aase, who will retire this winter. Perry will be leaving the Maryland State Retirement Agency, where he manages a $33 billion in fund, to manage Macalester’s smaller, $587 million endowment.

Macalester President Brian Rosenberg believes that Perry’s work with state pensions has prepared him well for managing a college endowment.

“I think he’ll just be a great fit for this place,” Rosenberg said. “The key thing in working for a pension fund and a college is you know you have.these obligations that you have to meet.”

Rosenberg felt that Perry’s experience working with money that people depend on would make him averse to taking “crazy risks.”

Perry is inheriting the task of managing Macalester’s endowment at a difficult time. The economic downturn has caused severe drops in many college’s and university’s endowments. While Macalester’s endowment has remained relatively stable due to conservative investment and spending, growth of the endowment is expected to slow.

“When everything is going up pretty fast, it’s easy to look smart,” Rosenberg said.

The transition from a $33 billion dollar fund to a nearly $600 million endowment also presents its own challenges.

“When you’re managing a 33 billion dollar pension fund, everybody calls him and all these funds want him to invest with them,” Rosenberg said. “When you’re managing a 600 million dollar endowment, I think you have to be a little more active in going out and seeking managers and things to invest in.”

Perry has strong roots in Minnesota. He is a graduate of Carleton, and has held positions in both the private and public sectors in the state, at places such as the Minnesota State Board of Investment, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Cargill and Carleton.

Perry also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to build on Macalester’s long tradition of stewardship ensuring the endowment continues to provide invaluable support to students and academic programs for generations to come,” Perry said in a Macalester press release.

On Nov. 1 of this year, Perry will officially begin as an employee of Macalester College. There will be a two-month overlap between when Perry begins and current CIO Craig Aase officially retires. Aase has worked for Macalester for 33 years.

Rosenberg said he expects that Perry will be at Macalester for the long-term as well.

“I don’t want to have to do this again in two years,” he said.

Still, there is no way of knowing whether Perry’s tenure will be as long as Aase’s.

“I mean, Craig was here a long time,” Rosenberg said.

Perry was hired after a year-long search process for which Macalester hired an independent search firm. Three candidates were invited to interview on campus, after which Perry was offered the position.

“What impressed me about him when I interviewed him was that, you know, I sometimes go to these investment things and it sounds like Greek, and he had a way of reducing investments to basic ideas and language that I could understand,” Rosenberg said. “Mansco emerged as pretty much the universal choice, I think.