Texas Gov. Rick Perry accepted the resignation of Robert Rowling as chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Co. and is looking to appoint a successor, according to Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for the governor.
Mr. Rowling, who was appointed to the position by Mr. Perry in July 2004, abruptly resigned last week following criticism by Mr. Perry and state lawmakers for awarding $3.38 million in bonuses to UTIMCO staff members, $1.05 million of which went to CEO Bruce Zimmerman. Mr. Rowling reportedly was grilled by state lawmakers in a state Senate Finance Committee meeting, prior to submitting his resignation letter to Mr. Perry.
UTIMCO oversees the states $8.8 billion Permanent University Fund, $800 million Permanent Health Fund, $4.1 billion Long Term Fund and $100 million in separately invested funds.
The bonuses came at a time when the funds experienced double-digit losses. Total assets were valued at $13.8 billion as of Dec. 31, a 27% decline for the year, according to UTIMCO spokeswoman Christy Wallace.
These decisions are irresponsible given the financial crisis that is spreading across our nation, Mr. Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wrote in a letter to Mr. Rowling prior to his resignation.
In his resignation letter, Mr. Rowling said UTIMCO awarded the bonuses for the 2008 fiscal year July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 when the Permanent University Fund returned 2%, noting that the fund performed in the top quarter of endowment and pension funds nationwide.
The bonuses were not finally approved and paid until November 2008 because we do not receive data from competitive endowments to compare our performance until several months following the end of June, Mr. Rowling said in his resignation letter. It would be irresponsible and shameful to commit to an agreement with employees and then turn your back on the agreement.