Amy Falls appointed as vice president and chief investment officer

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Daily file photo by Kelsey Carroll

The Weber Arch. Northwestern made new announcements about next Spring and Fall Quarter in a Thursday email.

Waverly Long, Assistant Campus Editor

Following a national search, Amy Falls has been appointed as Northwestern’s vice president and chief investment officer, University President Morton Schapiro announced in a Friday email. After transitioning into her new role this spring, Falls will become the first female CIO in NU history.

As CIO, Falls will oversee NU’s $12.2 billion investment portfolio, making her responsible for nearly a quarter of the University’s annual revenue. According to Northwestern Now, these funds support a “wide range of University operations including undergraduate and graduate financial aid, University institutes and centers, faculty positions and department chairs, research and athletics.”

Falls’ predecessor, William H. McLean, stepped down in October 2020 to become the CIO of the University of Richmond.

Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance, told Northwestern Now that Falls “has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading institutions through turbulent financial times.”

Falls has served as CIO of The Rockefeller University since 2011. According to Northwestern Now, Falls generated “the second highest performance in 2020 among University endowments greater than $1 billion.” Falls also served as the founding CIO of Phillips Academy Andover.

According to Northwestern Now, in her new role at NU, Falls seeks to “engage students, faculty and staff in conversations on the endowment’s role in environmental, social and governance factors, including sustainability.”

“As chief investment officer, I hope to build on Northwestern’s legacy of excellence and promote the growth of the endowment,” Falls said to Northwestern Now. “This will help elevate the University’s world-class scholars and research programs, its ability to attract and retain exceptional talent, and expand access and affordability for an even greater number of students.”

She will report to Johnson and the Investment Committee and will collaborate with trustees and colleagues across the University. NU trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee Tim Sullivan told Northwestern Now he is “thrilled” to welcome Falls and her “unique insights and her passion.”

Falls enters the role amid a yearslong push by student activists for the University to divest from fossil fuels, a movement that has gained steam nationwide after the University of California system and Brown University have both divested from fossil fuels in the past year. Earlier this month, the University of Southern California announced its Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee voted to halt new investments in fossil fuels.

Falls will also serve on the president’s senior staff. Schapiro said the CIO’s role is “essential” to the University’s success.

“We have great confidence in Amy’s ability to build the financial strength we need to invest further in our academic community and to carry out every aspect of our mission at a truly world-class level,” Schapiro told Northwestern Now.

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Twitter: @waverly_long

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