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Endowments and foundations

Britt Harris to get at least $2 million in first year as UTIMCO CEO

T. Britton Harris IV
T. Britton Harris IV

The University of Texas Investment Management Co. will pay its new CEO T. Britton "Britt" Harris IV at least $2 million in his first year.

Mr. Harris will receive a base salary of $750,000, a minimum bonus of the same amount and a $550,000 signing bonus, according to the employment agreement dated June 15 and provided to Bloomberg on Tuesday. Mr. Harris, who starts Aug. 1, said in an email that the compensation package is a "market rate for similarly sized university endowments."

UTIMCO, as the organization overseeing $40 billion for two Texas state university systems is known, announced on June 16 that it hired Mr. Harris, who was the chief investment officer at the $139.7 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin, for the past 10 years.

"I fully understand how significant this responsibility is and how very fortunate I am to be selected to lead UTIMCO," Mr. Harris said Tuesday in a statement. "We know that we represent two of the largest and finest university systems in our country and that each one continually produces some of the nation's most talented leaders as well as some of its most profound research."

Mr. Harris' annual salary at Texas Teachers was $551,250 as of Sept. 1, according to a document from the pension plan. His bonuses in the fiscal years 2009 to 2015 totaled $2.2 million combined, according to the Austin-American Statesman newspaper.

Mr. Harris replaces Bruce Zimmerman, the CEO who stepped down in October after nine years. Mr. Zimmerman had a compensation package of $4.1 million in 2014, according to a UTIMCO tax filing. That included a base salary of $659,862, a $1.8 million bonus and deferred compensation of $1.6 million, according to the filing.

Prior to Texas Teachers, Mr. Harris managed the pension fund at Verizon Communications Inc. and spent six months as CEO at Bridgewater Associates.

Among other benefits, UTIMCO will pay his initiation fee and membership dues at the University of Texas Golf Club. UTIMCO said it will credit Mr. Harris's 10.5 years of service at the Texas pension plan in the retirement benefit plan it offers its employees, which may increase the amount accrued and vested.

He will also get $1.5 million if he's involuntarily terminated, depending on how long he stays with the organization.

UTIMCO, located in Austin, manages endowment funds for the University of Texas and Texas A&M University and has about 75 employees. It recently changed its formal name to the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Co.