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Chief Investment Officer to retire, maintain university connections

Tom Olson to join public-private partnership to benefit College of Engineering.

MADISON, WI (December 21, 2021) — Tom Olson, the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association interim co-chief investment officer and longtime CIO of private markets, will retire at the end of 2021, WFAA announced today. He will remain closely connected to the university after his retirement, joining WISC Partners, a regional growth private equity firm headquartered in Madison, as a general partner.

Olson will work alongside UW-Madison engineering alum Mike Splinter (BS ’72, MS ’74) and business alum David Guinther (BBA ’82, MS ’91) at WISC Partners and will be responsible for developing a public-private partnership with the College of Engineering at UW-Madison for the firm’s upcoming Fund II.

“Industry partnerships and new revenue streams are increasingly important for the university’s future,” said WFAA president and CEO Mike Knetter. “UW-Madison will continue to benefit from Tom’s many talents.”

“I am honored to join WISC Partners,” said Olson. This is an exciting new opportunity to help connect high-potential regional technology companies with leading UW-Madison engineering experts.

Olson is retiring in December 2021 after 16 years of service. During his tenure, the foundation's endowment grew from $1 billion to more than $4 billion. He helped drive the investment team’s evolution from an outsourced model to the internal investment function the foundation employs today, through a transition that involved major investments in systems, process, and procedures. Olson also collaborated with current and former investment committee chairs to refine and evolve the foundation's investment policy statements as its endowment and capabilities grew over time. Mike Stohler, who previously was a managing director at Washington University, replaced Olson as chief investment officer in October 2021.

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