Strategic manager: Zeithaml skillset hailed by O'Neil
While leaving little doubt that business skills are a key attribute in its choice of a temporary leader, the UVA Board of Visitors chose a man to serve as interim president who also has organizational and people skills on his side: Carl Zeithaml, a specialist in the field of strategic management and the long-time dean of the McIntire School of Commerce.
"He's a bridge builder and a consensus builder," says former UVA President Bob O'Neil, "and I think people will gather around him."
Elected during the marathon June 18-19 Board meeting, Zeithaml will assume the temporary position effective August 16.
Zeithaml has overseen significant changes in his 15 years at McIntire– including the oversight of a massive new home at the southern end of the Lawn. The expanded Rouss Hall, at 132,000 square feet, moved the so-called "Comm School" away from McCormick Avenue to a structure larger even than the new South Lawn Project.
McIntire, an undergraduate school that qualified students can enter after two years, has earned high national standing including Businessweek's recent rank as the number two undergraduate business program in the country and the number one MBA "feeder" school.
Tellingly, Zeithamel's biography reads like a recipe for some things the BOV has been accused of botching: "He conducts research on... strategic decision making, the strategic role of the board of directors, the implementation of acquisition and diversification strategies, and organizational transformation."
Zeithaml, who had previously been at the UNC graduate business school, came to UVA's Comm School in 1997, and yet was certainly no stranger to business.
In additional to the $408,000 salary he earns from UVA, Zeithaml makes another $131,250 for sitting on the board of Dollar Tree Stores Inc. (The UVA news office was unable to provide information on what the interim presidential salary would be.)
"Having a foothold in the academic and business worlds would be reassuring," says former president O'Neil. "It will inevitably be a challenge that I have no doubt Carl is capable of meeting."
In prepared remarks, Zeithaml– who has a son currently working toward an undergraduate degree at UVA– noted the "very difficult time" at the school but said he will "look forward to working with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and University leaders."
"Carl has the challenge and opportunity to bring them all together after what can only be described as a bruising experience," says ex-leader O'Neil. As for the BOV actions, O'Neil sounds a less cheery note.
"The healing process will take some time," says O'Neil. "It will take some time to restore trust in the Board of Visitors."Read more on: carl zeithaml