Amy Falls has been named Northwestern University’s vice president and chief investment officer, becoming the first woman in the University’s history to hold that position, President Morton Schapiro announced today. Falls will begin transitioning into her new role over the spring. She was named following a national search.
“I am honored and excited to join the Northwestern Investment Office team and look forward to working with them, the board and my new colleagues to advance the University’s mission,” Falls said. “As chief investment officer, I hope to build on Northwestern’s legacy of excellence and promote the growth of the endowment. 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.”
Falls will oversee Northwestern’s $12.2 billion investment portfolio, which supports a wide range of University operations including undergraduate and graduate financial aid, University institutes and centers, faculty positions and department chairs, research and athletics. She will be responsible for about a quarter of the University’s annual revenue.
“The role of the chief investment officer is essential to the success of the University at every level,” Schapiro said. “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.”
Falls comes to Northwestern from Rockefeller University, a biomedical research institution in New York, where she has served as chief investment officer since 2011. Prior to that, she was the founding chief investment officer of Phillips Academy Andover. In both of these roles, Falls attained top decile performance, including generating the second highest performance in 2020 among University endowments greater than $1 billion.
Falls is one of a small group of women chief investment officers of endowments or funds with over $1 billion in assets. A former partner at Morgan Stanley, she is a board member of the Ford Foundation and the Harvard Management Company, which manages the endowment of Harvard University. Falls also is the first woman president of the board of trustees at Phillips Academy Andover.
“We are thrilled to have Amy on board and welcome her unique insights and her passion for the work we do at Northwestern,” said Tim Sullivan, Northwestern trustee and chair of the Investment Committee. “We are confident she will continue Northwestern’s long trajectory of stability and growth.”
Falls will report jointly to the Investment Committee and to Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance, and work with trustees and colleagues across the University in finance, treasury, budget, alumni relations and development, and in schools and units. She also seeks to engage students, faculty and staff in conversations on the endowment’s role in environmental, social and governance factors, including sustainability.
“Amy has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading institutions through turbulent financial times,” Johnson said. “She will continue to build upon our endowment’s successes to ensure financial resources are available in perpetuity for our University community.”
This appointment arose from recommendations made by a search committee chaired by Sullivan and Johnson. She will serve on the president’s senior staff.
Falls will succeed William H. McLean, who stepped down in October after 18 years with Northwestern as vice president and chief investment officer. Sullivan and Johnson also thanked the managing directors of the Investment Office for their interim leadership.
Falls holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in history and a master of public policy in international development and finance from the Harvard Kennedy School.
In coming to Northwestern, Falls is returning home. She grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, where her parents still live. Falls and her husband, Hartley Rogers, have three daughters.