by Alexandra MacWade, assistant editor
The university’s Board of Trustees elected three new members at their February 17 meeting: William A. Ackman, chief executive officer and portfolio manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P.; Scott K.H. Bessent, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Key Square Group; and Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Chubb Limited. With their elections, the university has 48 voting trustees.
Mr. Ackman began his career in real estate investment banking at Ackman Brothers & Singer, Inc., before co-founding Gotham Partners Management Co., LLC, in 1992. Gotham Partners was an investment firm that managed public and private equity hedge fund portfolios. In 2003, Mr. Ackman founded Pershing Square, a hedge fund management company that makes investments in the public markets.
Mr. Ackman says that he is honored to join the board of an institution that is “revolutionizing the world of science and medicine through discovery and innovation.”
A graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Business School, where he serves on its board of dean’s advisors, Mr. Ackman is also on the board of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and is chairman of the board of The Howard Hughes Corporation. In 2006, with his wife, Karen Ackman, he cofounded The Pershing Square Foundation, which supports various organizations dedicated to social change. The charitable foundation has committed more than $375 million in grants and social investments.
Before establishing the New York–based investment partnership Key Square Group last year, Mr. Bessent was chief investment officer for Soros Fund Management, the investment vehicle for the Soros Family and their foundations, from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Bessent previously held positions at the multinational corporation Olayan Group and financial services firm Brown Brothers Harriman. From 2006 to 2010, he taught economic history as an adjunct professor at Yale University.
“Joining the Board is an opportunity to support Rockefeller University’s unique approach to science and discovery, while playing a role in shaping this great institution’s future,” says Mr. Bessent. “I am especially looking forward to engaging with the faculty in their labs.”
Mr. Bessent, who holds a B.A. from Yale, is profiled in a 2006 book about global macro investing, Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in the Global Markets, by Steven Drobny. He is also featured in Sebastian Mallaby’s 2010 history of hedge funds, More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite. A frequent speaker on economic and investment panels, Mr. Bessent is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the boards of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust and The Brunswick School Investment Committee.
For more than 40 years, Mr. Greenberg has held underwriting and senior management positions in the insurance industry. He spent 25 of those years with American International Group, where he was president and chief operating officer from 1997 to 2000. He also served as president and chief executive officer of AIU, AIG’s foreign general insurance organization, and chief executive officer of AIG Far East, among other roles. In 2001, Mr. Greenberg joined ACE Limited, a global insurance firm, as vice chairman. Before its acquisition of Chubb this past January, Mr. Greenberg was chairman and chief executive officer of ACE.
Describing the university as a “venerable and storied institution,” Mr. Greenberg says that “so many of the solutions to the problems of mankind begin with basic science, and The Rockefeller University is at the epicenter of cutting-edge research.”
Mr. Greenberg sits on the boards of the Coca-Cola Company, the Council of the Americas, and the National Committee on United States–China Relations. He is chairman of the US-ASEAN Business Council and is on the Southeast Asia advisory board of the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Mr. Greenberg is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as an overseer of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization that aims to help people displaced by conflict and natural disaster.