Breeden appointed chair of financial services board
Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
Leavenworth native Douglas T. Breeden was recently appointed chairman of the board of trustees for the Common Fund for Nonprofit Organizations, a $28 billion money management firm.
Breeden has served on the board for 10 years, spending seven of those as chairman of the audit and risk committee.
The Common Fund for Nonprofit Organizations was established in 1971 with the goal of helping small universities, hospitals and nonprofits invest their funds in a responsible manner with the best results.
Breeden explained smaller institutions don’t have the resources to have a portfolio manager on staff. Common Fund fills that role.
“Our main mission is to help small institutions, endowments and family foundations,” said Breeden. “They give us relatively small amounts, and we invest it professionally. Our staff works with clients to help them make good decisions on how to manage endowments.”
Common Fund has achieved a good reputation based on its performance, said Breeden, noting the firm was ranked fourth among large companies such as Fidelity and Vanguard.
“The board of trustees’ election of Dr. Breeden as chair reflects the board’s confidence in his leadership and his ability to continue to position the firm for future success,” chairman Robert Litterman said in a press release. “Not only is Dr. Breeden a stellar figure in the field of academic finance, but he has served as a Commonfund trustee for over a decade and possesses a deep understanding of the firm’s mission, history and operational and investment strategies.”
As chairman, Breeden said his role on the board will change. He will work more closely with the president and CEO.
“Part of my job is to make sure he does a good job,” Breeden said.
A 1968 graduate of Leavenworth High School, Breeden earned his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in finance from Stanford University.
He is currently the William W. Priest professor of finance and former dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He has also served on faculties at Chicago Booth, Stanford and North Carolina.
His experience includes serving on the MIT President’s Council and the Stanford Business School Advisory Council. He was an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and served on the board and the Financial Management Association. He was co-founder and chairman for 23 years of Smith Breeden Associates, a money management firm.
Breeden has published seminal research on insurance prices implicit in option prices, the Consumption CAPM and hedging mortgage securities. He has presented his research to central bank meetings in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Breeden believes libraries are key to learning. His philanthropic efforts include supporting a new library at Duke University. He also supported the Harrison County Public Library expansion and established the Breeden Memorial Library in Leavenworth.
“The most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life is the library,” he said.
Breeden said his decision to support libraries is due to the role they have played in his life. He wants to help make it possible for others to learn whatever they wish, which is made possible by using a library.
While his career has taken him away from home, Leavenworth has remained near and dear to Breeden’s heart.
“I love Leavenworth. It’s the foundation of all my success,” he said.
Breeden said he had wonderful parents as well as a great community, adding that Corydon is also very special to him.
“Both are wonderful places, fantastic places to raise children,” he said. “They raised me. Lots of people outside of my parents raised me and occasionally disciplined me, as my parents did other kids. It was the classic ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I keep coming back. I don’t think that will ever stop. I love it there. It’s a great place.”