WashU CIO steps down

After 10 years at Washington University of St. Louis, Kimberly Walker is leaving the $7.7bn endowment, which has $160m in real assets.

Washington University of St. Louis’ chief investment officer will leave the endowment at the end of the year, the Missouri-based school said last week.

Kimberly Walker, who has been in the position since November 2006, is stepping down from the CIO role for Washington University Investment Management Company (WUIMC) on December 31. WUIMC managed $7.7 billion as of June 30, with $159.4 million in real assets and $1.4 billion in private equity, according to its annual report. Walker increased the endowment’s assets under management by more than 40 percent, last week’s statement said.

Eric Upin, a member of the WUIMC board and managing director of investment manager Makena Capital Management, will serve as interim CIO while the board conducts a search for Walker’s replacement. Walker will work as a consultant for WUIMC during the search process, and will be an executive in residence at WashU's business school, Olin Business School, according to a spokeswoman.

“She has steered our financial strategy during times of great uncertainty, and has provided steady leadership as our nation has navigated rough economic waters over the last decade,” David Kemper, WUIMC’s chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement last week.

Prior to her time at WUIMC, Walker was the president of Denver-based Qwest Asset Management, the investment arm of Qwest Communications, for almost nine years, according to her LinkedIn profile. Qwest’s parent company was acquired by telecommunications company CenturyLink in 2010. Walker previously led equity strategy for General Motors’ pension plan from 1994 to 1998.