NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly delivered on a promise to shake things up Monday, firing six high level administrators from their positions on his first working day in office.
Gallogly, who officially became OU’s 14th president on Sunday following nearly 24 years of David Boren’s tenure, first publicly entertained the idea of laying off non-faculty staff as a cost-cutting measure during the OU Board of Regents meeting last month. He said OU is running a deficit and currently facing a debt of nearly $1 billion.
“We view this as an excellent opportunity to hire new talent to bring fresh perspectives and improved diversity to our organization,” Gallogly said in a statement issued to students and faculty. “We wish to thank Nick Hathaway, Chris Kuwitzky, Clive Mander, Rowdy Gilbert, Scott Mason and Jonathan Nichols for their service to our university and wish them well in their future endeavors.”
The university plans to eliminate Hathaway’s former position of executive vice president for administration and finance entirely, while conducting a nationwide search to hire replacements for the other five vacancies created by the departure of Associate Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kuwitzky, Chief Audit Executive Mander, Executive Federal Programs Director Mason, Senior Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Gilbert and Vice President for Governmental Relations Nichols.
Moving forward, the chief financial officer, chief human resources officer and vice president for facilities and services will report directly to the president, reducing the total number of executives from 25 to 17, a reduction of 32 percent across all OU campuses.
The move will save the university $1.13 million annually, but Gallogly said the move was less about cost savings and more about streamlining a top-heavy administration.
Though six OU executives are confirmed exits, Monday’s release indicates more layoffs and restructuring could be eminent.
“The amount of savings today was not a significant amount,” Gallogly told OU Daily. “There’s going to be some reorganization about who reports to who, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of our cost structure.”
Gallogly said striving to keep the university more cost effective will allow college to remain within the reach of more students.
“During this time of change, we will continue to focus on academic excellence, student success, employee engagement and efficiency,” he said in Monday’s release. “These first steps are needed to help maintain current tuition levels and work toward faculty pay raises.”
According to the release, the areas of Enrollment and Student Financial Services, University Community, OU Outreach and the Colleges of Business, Law, and Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences will be part of the Norman Office of the Provost.
“The positions of Vice President for Government Relations and Executive Director of Federal Programs will be combined into a single position of Executive Director for Government Relations reporting to the General Counsel,” the release states. “Information Technology will report to the Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, the leadership team in the Development office will be reorganized.”