Andrew K. Golden, president of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO), will step down from his position on June 30, 2024, after nearly three decades during which the University’s endowment has grown into a key long-term source of financial support for Princeton’s research and teaching mission.
Since Golden joined PRINCO in January 1995, the endowment has grown tenfold and contributed almost $20 billion to fund nearly every aspect of the University’s overall budget, including Princeton’s pioneering no-loan financial aid and recent financial aid enhancements that allow students from families earning up to $100,000 to attend Princeton at no cost.
Princeton’s endowment was valued at $35.8 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. Its annualized return during Golden’s tenure has been 12.6%.
In recent years, the endowment has supplied approximately 65% of Princeton’s operating revenue, while also ensuring that Princeton remains affordable for students from all backgrounds. The University’s endowment distributions and investment income cover more than 70% of the expanded undergraduate financial aid budget.
“Andy Golden’s achievements are the stuff of legend,” said Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “His brilliant leadership of PRINCO has changed the economic model of this University, enabling us to support financial aid, graduate stipends, research excellence, and the teaching mission in ways that would otherwise have been unimaginable.”
Eisgruber added, “He has also been a valued advisor to multiple Princeton presidents who trusted him not only for his economic wisdom, but also and more fundamentally, because of his deep understanding of and dedication to the University.”
PRINCO was founded in 1987 as a University office to manage Princeton’s endowment. Its president reports both to the University president and to the chair of the 12-member PRINCO board of directors. A search for Golden’s successor will be conducted over the coming year, for which the University has engaged David Barrett Partners.
“My time here has been an incredible privilege,” Golden said, “and it was love at first sight.” From the start, his north star for investment decisions has been to provide strong gains, in absolute and risk-adjusted terms, over a 25-year time horizon, and beyond, so that future generations of Princeton students may enjoy the same exceptional opportunities as previous generations.
“It’s been almost a three-decade marathon,” Golden said. “My goal for the year ahead is to sprint through the tape, and to make sure that Princeton is positioned for success over the next 25 years.”
Bob Peck, Class of 1988, a Princeton trustee and current chairman of the PRINCO board, said Golden’s impact has been amplified by his dedication to mentoring colleagues at PRINCO and its outside investment firms.
“Andy’s spectacular success in investment performance is equally matched by his distinguished leadership of PRINCO in building an excellent team and distinctive culture,” Peck said. “He’s achieved all this success while being an exemplary citizen of the University beyond PRINCO, which has elicited great fondness and appreciation across campus.”
Peck added, “His clever, fun-loving and insightful presence is truly one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed.”
Taking the long view
Golden credits PRINCO’s success during his tenure to the team culture both within the office and in PRINCO’s partnerships with more than 70 investment firms worldwide.
“It has been most gratifying for me to see the development of the University, and the development of my colleagues and even of our external managers over that time,” he said. “I think the hallmark of PRINCO, one of the things that distinguishes us, is that pursuit of partnership. I have also been blessed by great partnership with three University presidents, my cabinet colleagues, the PRINCO board, and the trustees.”
In recent years, PRINCO has increased the number of firms owned primarily by women and people of color that help to manage the endowment. A report by the Knight Foundation included Princeton among a group of universities receiving special recognition for their commitment to reporting diversity data transparently, noting that 26.8% of the Princeton endowment is managed by diverse-owned firms.
In the past four years, 80% of the firms PRINCO has hired have diverse leadership. Golden said finding untapped pools of talent has been one key to the endowment’s success.
Since joining PRINCO, Golden has ensured that the University’s overall investment strategy has matched its long-term mission. During his tenure, a 65/35 blend of U.S. stocks and bonds had an annualized return of 8.5%, in comparison to the endowment’s 12.6%.
“When you really think about the endowment’s mission, which is to provide into perpetuity an inflation-adjusted level of support, then that redefines risk,” he said. “Playing it safe, the way a retiree might play it safe, actually guarantees failure. So we’ve had to be aggressive. I think it’s well understood that endowments, in general, have been at the forefront of exploring new asset classes, and exploring them in intelligent ways.”
Golden is the third president of PRINCO, which he joined from Duke Management Company, where he was an investment director. Previously, he was a senior associate in the Investments Office at Yale University. Before working in investments, Golden was a professional photographer.
Golden holds a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University and an M.P.P.M. from the Yale School of Management. He earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the CFA Society New York, which recently awarded him its Irving Kahn Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as a founding member of the Investors’ Committee of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets and was previously a member of the board of directors of the NAB Asset Corporation, a publicly traded commercial loan workout specialist.
He is on the board of the Park Agency, a private family office, and serves on the investment advisory committees of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and the Cambridge University Endowment Fund. He also serves on fund advisory boards for several hedge fund, private equity and venture capital managers.
Golden is a trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation and Rutgers Preparatory School.