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Harvard Endowment Chief El-Erian to Return to Pimco

Mohamed El-Erian, who has managed Harvard University's $34.9 billion endowment since 2006, is resigning to return to work at Pacific Investment Management Company.

El-Erian, who took the Harvard job after a lengthy search, will rejoin Pimco, one of the world's biggest fixed income managers, as co-chief executive officer and co-chief investment officer, Harvard said.

El-Erian is returning to southern California to be closer to his family. He will step down at the end of the year, the university said in a statement.

Last month, Harvard, already America's richest university, said its endowment returned 23 percent, significantly above the 16.7 percent gain posted for 2006.

El-Erian is a well-known respected emerging markets specialist and Harvard's bets on those markets were instrumental in boosting returns, El-Erian said less than a month ago.

He came to Harvard in early 2006 after Jack Meyer, who had been Harvard's top investment officer for roughly 15 years left to start a hedge fund.

For years the university's money management arm had been dogged by complaints about the multimillion dollar pay packages of its managers and, this summer, one of its bets soured when Sowood Capital, a hedge fund the school invested with, collapsed.

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