Campus & Community

Ann Berman to step down as VP for finance

4 min read

Chief financial officer to assume advisory role

Ann E. Berman, vice president for finance and chief financial officer of the University, announced her decision to step down effective April 1, 2006.

“Ann has succeeded in improving both the effectiveness and efficiency of financial management throughout the University,” said President Lawrence H. Summers. “Her thoughtful analysis, strong management, and commitment to the academic mission of the University over the past three years have positioned Harvard to realize our future goals.”

Since her appointment in 2002, Berman has served as an adviser to Summers and Provost Steven E. Hyman on all matters of financial strategy, policy, and resource allocation. She has played a key role in addressing the financial aspects of major strategic challenges facing the University, including planning for the University’s expansion into Allston, the development and funding of important new initiatives in science and undergraduate education, and the growth of the faculty.

“Harvard is financially strong today, in no small part due to Ann and her extensive understanding of the financial structure, operations, and culture of the University,” said University Treasurer James Rothenberg. “At a time when universities across the country were forced to cut programs and suspend construction projects, Harvard was able to stay focused on its academic mission and plan for continued growth and expansion.”

“Steering a course between financial prudence and investments in Harvard’s ambitious academic agenda has been an exciting challenge,” said Berman. “Working with President Summers, Provost Hyman, and the faculty, administrators, and staff across the University on the long thought process and consensus-building that go into ensuring that resources will be available when the University needs them has been rewarding.”

A search will commence immediately with the goal of having someone in place early prior to Berman’s departure to allow overlap and an orderly transition.

Although Berman will be stepping down as vice president to spend six months each year living abroad, she will continue to work on special projects in the University community. “I told President Summers when he was recruiting me that I was willing to delay my retirement for three years,” said Berman. “Somehow he managed to get an extra six months.”

As the financial architect for the University, Berman worked to further the University’s goals by putting an emphasis on best practices, increasing financial awareness, and focusing on better service for the Schools. She led a movement toward more intensive financial management and improved financial reporting to Harvard’s internal and external constituents.

In addition to balancing the books, Berman has been responsible for financial systems, budget planning, sponsored research and grants administration, risk management and audit services, and technology and trademark licensing. She also managed the office of the assistant treasurer and served as the University’s liaison to the Harvard Management Company (HMC) as an ex officio member of its board.

In her role with HMC, Berman serves on both the steering committee overseeing the disposition of a complex bond arbitrage portfolio and the search committee for a new CEO of the management company.

Arriving at Harvard in 1991 as a financial planner and strategic consultant to the president of Radcliffe College, Berman was named the associate dean of finance for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) in 1994. In 2000, she became a senior adviser to the FAS dean and served in that capacity until her appointment to vice president in 2002. As financial dean of the FAS, she worked closely with the dean to return the FAS to a position of financial health and to develop strong financial management.

Berman is a C.P.A. and graduated in 1976 with an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. in French literature from Cornell University (1974), where she graduated with distinction and was Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to her career at Harvard, Berman worked for nearly 10 years in public accounting. She worked first at Price Waterhouse and then as a partner at Richard A. Eisner & Co. in New York specializing in taxation, restructuring, and financial analysis.

In 1986, Berman retired from Eisner to pursue a long-standing interest in foreign languages. She did graduate work in Italian and Italian literature at Columbia and at New York University. She is fluent in both Italian and French.