Edward C. Forst, global head of the Investment Management Division for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, will become Harvard University’s first executive vice president, effective September 1, Harvard President Drew Faust announced today (June 18).
As executive vice president, Forst will be the principal ranking operating officer at the University. In this newly created position, Forst will serve as a senior adviser to the president and will lead the development of administrative capacity in new areas that cross School boundaries or traditional administrative units. He will oversee the financial, administrative, and human resources functions, and administrative components of information technology for the central administration. He also will serve as a member of the board of the Harvard Management Company, which manages the University’s endowment.
Forst, a graduate of Harvard College, also served as Goldman Sachs’ chief administrative officer. In that role, he was the co-head of the firm’s global operations, technology, financial administration, services, real estate, and security functions.
“I am extremely pleased that Ed Forst has agreed to return to Harvard and serve as the University’s first executive vice president,” said Faust. “Ed brings deep experience with a large, complex, and global organization, a proven track record in managing the functions that will be central to his new role, and an outstanding reputation for his collegial and effective leadership style.
“We have important work ahead of us and Ed Forst’s leadership and experience will help ensure that our administrative capacity can support our academic ambitions at the level of excellence they deserve,” Faust continued. “I look forward to working with Ed and others to enhance that capacity, and to strengthen the center’s effectiveness in its administrative dealings across the University.”
“The decision to leave Goldman Sachs was an extremely difficult one,” said Forst. “My 14 years at the firm were shaped by a variety of different jobs across various markets, but the common ingredient was the opportunity to work with outstanding, committed people. The rare opportunity to work with the outstanding scholars, educators, students, and professionals at Harvard was compelling. I care deeply about the University’s mission and that commitment has only grown since my first day as a student. I look forward to supporting the research, scholarship and community that defines Harvard University.”
The search was guided by an advisory group that included Ann Berman, former vice president for finance; Chris Gordon, chief operating officer of the Allston Development Group; Evelynn Hammonds, senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity until May 31, now dean of Harvard College; Elena Kagan, dean of the Law School; William Lee, co-managing partner of the law firm WilmerHale and a Harvard Overseer from 2002 to 2008; Jay Light, dean of the Business School; Kasia Lundy, chief of staff to the president and provost; and Clayton Spencer, vice president for policy.
A member of the Management Committee at Goldman Sachs since 2004, Forst was named the global head of the Investment Management Division earlier this year, a position that encompasses responsibility for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which has $895 billion under management, and the firm’s private wealth management business. He served as co-head of that division since September 2007. From 2004 to 2007 he served as an executive vice president of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and as the firm’s chief administrative officer. He was elected a partner in 1998 and served in senior roles in both the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division and the Equities Division.
Forst served as the chair of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association through November 2007. He is currently a trustee of Carnegie Hall and has also served as a trustee of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a private nonprofit ocean research, engineering, and education organization.
He is a 1982 graduate of Harvard College and earned an M.B.A. from Wharton in 1988. He has served as co-chair of the reunion gift committee for his 25th and 20th Harvard reunions and as vice chair for his 15th reunion. Since 2005 he has co-chaired the University Committee on Student Excellence and Opportunity, which engages with all of the University’s Schools to determine the most effective ways to attract top students and reduce financial barriers that might deter their enrollment.
Forst and his wife, Susan, who received a B.A. from Yale in 1987 and an M.B.A. from Wharton in 1993, have four children.