Updated from 1:12 p.m. EST
Michael McCaffery, chairman of San Francisco technology underwriter
, will leave the firm to manage the assets of his alma mater,
, the investment bank said Wednesday.
The move comes less than two months after McCaffery yielded the chief executive post at Robertson to president Bob Emery, telling the
San Francisco Chronicle
he plans to focus on "the areas of the business I really love," namely marketing, strategy and working with clients.
McCaffery yielded the chief executive job two days after
, the online investment bank created a year ago by
, was trying to attract McCaffery to a leadership post.
Robertson Stephens, which has had three owners in the past three years, will retain McCaffery as chairman until Dec. 31, though he will begin work as president and chief executive of
in September. The firm has not named a replacement for McCaffery.
The management company, created in 1991, controls Stanford University's $7.9 billion endowment, which consists of financial and real estate assets. McCaffery earned a master's of business administration degree from the school.
McCaffery joined Robertson Stephens in 1988, rising to chief executive in 1993. He took the chairman post in January. The job had been open since May 1998, when founder Sandy Robertson retired.
Founded in 1969, the firm made its mark underwriting high-tech and health care companies. It was acquired by
Bank of America
in 1997 and sold the next year to
, which was subsequently purchased by
Fleet Financial Group
Robertson was an underwriter on more than 218 public offerings last year, raising more than $40 billion for its clients. It was an adviser on 85 merger and acquisition deals.
G. Randy Hecht, former chief operating officer at Robertston Stephens, said McCaffery has spoken privately for years about his desire to leave the corporate world and teach at a university. The Stanford position might be the beginning of that transition, Hecht said.
"He has a great respect for education and institutions" of higher learning, Hecht said. "In life, there are other things to do than just be the CEO."
The challenge for a McCaffery-less Robertson Stephens will be competing with underwriters like
Thomas Weisel Partners
, which received a $100 million investment from the
California Public Employees Retirement System
this year. Weisel has the same "entrepreneurial interests without the necessary bureaucracies" of an institutional broker, Hecht said.
Hecht is the chief executive of
RS Investment Management
, a mutual fund manager formerly known as Roberston Stephens Investment Management, which split from
Bank of America
in November 1998.