Three UT executives stepping aside

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From left, Kevin Hegarty, Tom Gilligan, and Robert Hutchings

 

In recent days, three UT Austin executives have announced they are stepping down from their posts.

Kevin Hegarty, who has served as vice president and chief financial officer for 14 years, will become executive vice president and chief financial officer at the University of Michigan. His last day on campus will be Feb. 26, and he will begin at Michigan on April 6. Kevin has been a visionary leader, a champion of efficiency and effectiveness in our administration, and a stalwart member of my team. Mary Knight, our associate vice president for finance, will serve as interim vice president until his replacement is named.

Tom Gilligan, who has served as dean of the McCombs School of Business since 2008, will be leaving at the end of August for Stanford University to become director of the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution, and Peace. Tom has led the McCombs School to new heights, attracting top faculty and students and fostering research that is central to UT’s intellectual climate. He also has built and expanded multiple programs that support industry while challenging students and preparing them to be leaders. Rowling Hall, now under construction, will stand as Tom’s most visible legacy.

And Ambassador Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs since 2010, will step down when his current term concludes at the end of August. After taking some time off to write, Bob will return to the LBJ faculty to teach, advise, and mentor. Among his many accomplishments he has been responsible for key faculty hires and the creation of a dual degree program with the law school and an executive master’s in public leadership.

All three of these leaders have my profound thanks for their service to the University and my very best wishes for the next chapters of their distinguished careers.

Bill Powers signature

Campus efficiency measures moving forward thoughtfully

In 2012, I asked a group of 13 alumni and business leaders to examine UT’s administrative structure and operations with the goal of increasing our business productivity. They made their recommendations in January 2013. Since then, under Vice President Kevin Hegarty’s leadership, we have done an extensive study of the feasibility of those recommendations and gotten valuable input from the campus.

One major recommendation of the committee was to consolidate certain administrative functions across campus to be more efficient — a model known as “shared services.” We formed a steering committee composed of UT deans, staff, faculty, and students to examine this idea. Today, I present the Shared Services Steering Committee’s recommendations, viewable here.

The Steering Committee has proposed that over the next year shared services be piloted by select volunteer units. I am currently reviewing these recommendations.

Sharing services is not new to our campus. Pockets of shared services already exist in the College of Liberal Arts, McCombs School of Business, Information Technology Services, and the Central Business Office, which currently provides services for my office. So in addition to the pilot programs, we also will undertake a detailed study of these existing structures and how they are performing.

Change is never easy, but I believe we must share services across the campus for three reasons: to improve service, to improve career paths for our staff, and to reduce costs, allowing us to better serve our core missions of teaching and research.

I thank Vice President Hegarty and the Steering Committee for their thoughtful work.

Bill's Signature

Smarter Systems for a Greater UT

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In April 2012 I appointed the Committee on Business Productivity to study UT’s business operations and to make recommendations on increasing our efficiency and effectiveness. The committee, consisting of 13 business leaders, submitted its report, “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” to me earlier this month. I’m very grateful to its members for their thorough and thoughtful work.

Earlier today I shared my thoughts on the report in a speech on the campus, and I want to convey a few of the highlights. The Committee studied three large areas of University operations:

  • Administrative Services. The decentralized structure of the University has served us well on the academic side of our operations. The Committee, however, concluded that the University was not as well served by similar decentralization of business processes. It therefore recommended consolidating certain transactional administrative functions in a shared administrative services model. Most of the savings in this area can be achieved through natural attrition over a multiple-year period.
  • Asset Utilization. The Committee recommended selling the excess power generated by UT on the open market and incentivizing units to conserve energy. Instead of continuing to operate parking, food, and housing a cost-recovery basis, it recommended a strategic and more market-based approach.
  • Technology Commercialization. The Committee recommended investments to streamline the process of licensing UT-generated technology and suggested the University focus on maximizing the volume of licenses, leaving to the private sector the business of picking “winners.” It also recommended organizational structures that would further promote an entrepreneurial culture on the campus.

Implementing these recommendations will be a thoughtful process that will happen over a period of several years. I am committed to a measured and inclusive process that will seek input from the community. Kevin Hegarty, our vice president and chief financial officer, has accepted the responsibility for driving this process forward, and I’m thankful for his leadership.

While change is always challenging, these initiatives will strengthen the University and infuse its core academic mission with new resources and energy. Ultimately, the more efficient our business systems become, the better we can serve our students and the people of Texas.

The Committee’s report and the full text of my speech are online at: http://bit.ly/smartersystems

Bill's Signature