Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Md., hired the New York-based executive recruiting firm Higdon Barrett Inc. to conduct a national search for a vice president and chief investment officer.
Higdon Barrett representatives are meeting with members of the institute to determine the criteria for the position, said Avice Meehan, Howard Hughes spokeswoman.
CIO Nestor Villarosa Santiago died June 12 of a heart attack. He was 54.
Higdon Barrett will work with a subcommittee of the institute's board of trustees, Ms. Meehan said. No time frame has been set for the process.
Howard Hughes managing directors are acting as interim CIO on a rotating basis, Ms. Meehan said; Robert J. "Jay" Kolyer Jr., managing director-investments, is currently handling those duties. The CIO oversees the $11 billion endowment.
Mr. Santiago had restructured the medical institute's endowment when he joined from the International Monetary Fund in 2000, abandoning traditional asset classifications such as stocks and bonds. He used distressed corporate debt as a proxy for stocks, for example, and a way to buy into companies more cheaply. He also took advantage of market disruptions or distressed selling to buy up publicly traded stocks in Argentina and Brazil following the evaluation of the local currencies.