Peter Dolan leaves Harvard

The long-time, influential LP stepped down from his post in April, leaving behind a legacy of tough due diligence and a willingness to speak his mind.

Peter Dolan has left his long-time post running private equity at Harvard Management Company. His last day was 10 April, and he has been replaced on an interim basis by John Shue, who is heading up the private equity and venture capital portfolios, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

It’s not clear why Dolan left Harvard or if he has taken a role somewhere else. He did not respond to an email to his Harvard email address. Fortune reported on Dolan’s departure earlier Friday.

Dolan ran Harvard’s private equity portfolio for 18 years, prior to which he worked at Cambridge Associates and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Interim head Shue will report to managing director and head of alternative investments Andrew Wiltshire. Jane Mendillo is the chief executive officer and president of Harvard Management Company.

People very much respect his opinion and he has always been very outspoken.

Maria Boyazny

Dolan has been described in the past as exacting in his due diligence work on funds, so much so that his recommendations had a certain amount of influence over other investors. He was known to turn a “dark crimson as he vociferously airs his opinions on the private equity market”, according to a 2003 profile in Private Equity International, which named him one of the 30 most influential LPs in Europe that year.

“He has been an outspoken critic of GP avarice, particularly where oversized funds and excessive management fees are involved,” the profile said.

Dolan has been in the business a long time and got to know a lot of managers, and had access to managers that other LPs didn’t have, according to Maria Boyazny, founder and chief executive officer of MB Global Partners, who has known Dolan over the years.

“People very much respect his opinion and he has always been very outspoken,” Boyazny said. “He’s a really good guy and very fair. It’s the end of an era at Harvard and the beginning of a new era for Peter,” she said.

Another former LP who was close to Dolan characterised him as, “funny, smart, kind and outspoken”.

This year, Harvard has increased its allocation target to private equity to 16 percent from the 13 percent it had followed since 2005. The endowment’s target allocation to private equity was 12 percent in 1995.

The endowment, with about $35.6 billion in net assets as of September 2012, had a private equity return of 1.99 percent for fiscal 2012, under its 4.04 percent benchmark.