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."

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The Daily Progress is reporting that Vice Rector Mark Kington, a.k.a., Darth Kington, has resigned both as a vice rector AND as a visitor.

Link to his letter:

Nothing against this guy, but I don't see how he is suddenly more capable of affecting change that Sullivan already had well underway. You mean he might actually be using the same strategic buy in she talked about?

Sounds moe and more like the old boys just didn;t want a woman in charge and were willing to get another jealous woman to take her down in absolutely the wrong way. After all, there was no justification doing is the right way. UVA still stuck in the 1950's.

@Logan Anderson...another esteemed University Prof named Bill Wulf (computer sciences and president emeritus of the American Academy of Engineering) has just resigned, effective today.

I am pleased to see that UVa sheepskin may very well be hanging on the hooks at Dollar Tree stores based on our new interim prez.

R.I.P.: Bob Crane

Okay, 'nother good old white boy assumes the position -- uh, I mean the post.

Note: "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."

Is the BOV trying to turn the University into a business school? Where is the love of learning? Give us back Teresa.

Why in the sam h-- didn't Knighton stand up last night and resign?! Why did he stay in the meeting for hours on end and not resign when his resignation could have counted for something?! Why didn't he protest when his resignation was needed?! What kind of weasel is that?!

You know why he didn't stand up and resign. You said it, he's a weasel. His resignation is a waste of time unless he could get the whole BOV to resign.

So Zeithaml supported the BOV and got the job. How convenient. Yes we still believe in the tooth fairy

I know too many undergrads who bought their way into McIntire over more qualified but less affluent students. It appears that academia is not and will not be the focus of the BOV and the current interim president.

And don't despair I've heard he's a yoga expert as well, and will make this a top priority. So if you're stressed out about this - no problem Paul and Sonia and Carl to the rescue-
here's their plan - for YOU

Anyone else here sick and tired of Libralace and the R.I.P? I don't want to think about death every single time I read your posts..

Interim Pres. Z was the only member of the faculty who publicly seemed to support Sullivan's ouster: "The BOV is looking for decisive and bold action, and we should continue to give them what they want," he wrote in a letter last week to faculty at the McIntire School where he is Dean. It is no wonder, then, that the Board of Visitors selected Zeithaml. But as the BoV's appointment of Pres. Z had no input from faculty, I think that O'Neil is too optimistic that the faculty "will gather around him."

Dean Meredith Woo also sent out a similar email in support of the BOV's decision.

@ UVa Parent: Thanks for posting that youtube link. Unreal.....they can't even pronounce the word contemplative.

I don't care if this guy is Superman. He's the product of a tainted process, and the current BOV must go.

The Faculty senate does not support this appointment though they are willing to meet with him.

He's a lackey of the corporate BOV that orchestrated a hostile takeover of our public univesity. Dean of the Comm school which fits perfectly with their planned transformation of the university.

The BOV vision is out of touch with the world. What the world needs now is for governments to take full reposnsibilty fore finding public institutions that serve the public. They need to tax the wealthy and the corporations to fund society.

we must hoild firm with the Faculty senate resolution:

1. That the Board delay the naming of any interim president to provide an opportunity for shared governance;

2. That President Sullivan be reinstated;

3. That the Board recommend representation by UVA faculty on the Board as voting members; and

4. That the Rector and Vice Rector resign in the best interests of the University.

I concur with the engineering Prof who resigned today that CZ should resign as president, also i would want to know what role Strine playe din all this and if it looks as bad as the news reports and the tweets from emails exchanges sow, he should resign as well. I am wondering what Provost Simon is thinking. The BOV has done nothing to disabuse him of the notion that he should not resign as intimated in his remarks on Sunday.

After reinstating Sullivan, Clean house. Dismiss all BOVs. Appoint an interim commission with Casteen, Gov. Gilmore, LF Payne, Hunter Smith, George Cohen, David Toscano, to come up with new guidelines for appointing a representative BOV.

Or just appoint LF Payne to the BOV to replace Kington, dismiss Dragas and then get on with it.

we all know the effort put into the search and appoint of Pres Sullivan 2 years ago. Has Zeithaml been vetted since joining UVa in the late 1990's?

Strategic yes, but honorable no. Anyone who had an once of honesty would not go along with a BOV ( accept ) Fralin that would fire a president given the reported process. I have NO respect for this man and I would advise the Faculty to refuse to work with him.

Courage is not defined as resigning after firing someone, and calling it an action in search of reconciliation - as BOV member Klington just did. Courage is resigning BEFORE the vote to fire President Sullivan. Better yet, it is not participating in a months-long planning cabal in the first place. Mr. Klington, don't talk about your 'love for the university'. No one who loves this university would exhibit such lack of honesty and integrity. What example is that for current and future students?

Maybe the Faculty senate will encourage him to resign. They reiterated today that they do not recognize the interim appointment from a no confidence Board of Visitors. They want Sullivan back, Dragas to resign.

If Dragas resigns there will be enough votes to bring Sullivan back.

The bigger question now is how can the community get organized to help support the Faculty Senate?

@Untenured Professor

Some of you guys honestly need to wake the f- up. He's not agreeing with the decision of the Board. He's telling Mcintire that they ALREADY use "decisive and bold action" and they should continue to. Look at the word CONTINUE.

My God. The absolutely blind hatred some of you have for anyone that doesn't 100% conform to your wishes is mind blowing. You all do realize that if Dean Zeithaml had not stepped up to the plate, Helen Dragas would still be in charge of the University. Are you all telling me that would be preferred?

VoR, You're telling people to wake up? Helen Dragas is still in charge of the University, at least until she is driven out.

For two weeks.....max. What is she going to try and do in two weeks? What can she get done? If she gets reappointed, by all means, storm Richmond. Tar and feather McDonnell. But she's done her damage. Let's let some new folks try and solve the problems she created.

VoR, You wrote "You all do realize that if Dean Zeithaml had not stepped up to the plate, Helen Dragas would still be in charge of the University." If "she's done her damage," and can do no more harm because she will be gone in two weeks, then why does Zeithaml taking the post matter?

Because the University needs a President. And it needs one that the faculty is familiar with. The search committee can find the permanent nominee. But until then, they need a good leader to steer the ship.

I'm not disagreeing that she and still other trustees need to go. But bashing Dean Zeithaml because he didn't turn his back on the University is the wrong battle to fight.

It is important for the faculty to refuse to work for anyone appointed by this board.

Dean Zeithaml is a carbon copy of the BOV. That's why they chose him. He is not well regarded in A&S and is not a consensus builder. He is hype ambitious and saw his chance to pounce. It was all set up before the firing. I hope the CD or somebody will get FOIA for his emails with Dragas and BOV. The faculty need to stand united and resist. I agree with Ms. Drew.

You guys are funny.

I am willing to accept that Dean Zeithaml cares deeply about UVa and wants to help move beyond the events of the past week. However, I am surprised that he doesn't have a good understanding of the faculty outrage in the way this decision was made. He had a special opportunity to help the UVa community move forward by conditioning his acceptance of the interim position on the resignation of the Rector and Vice Rector. I believe this would have improved the faculty perception of fairness and legitimacy. For a star in the field of Strategy I am surprised that this path forward was not taken.

That Dean Zeithaml took this appointment indicates that he is not able to "build bridges" with the vast majority of faculty, staff, and students who object to the coup that removed President Sullivan.

Agree with every point Citizen Party has made.
As for Voice of Reason, these two, Voice and Reason seem to have parted ways. It is important to remember not to sit down with the devil when deals are to be made. We must uphold the honour code and all the ideals which we honour

Alumni you can end this tragedy now.
Contact UVa and tell them you are withholding all donations until

1. Dragas is go e
2. Sullivan is back

You owe this to the students and faculty


"He is not well regarded in A&S and is not a consensus builder. . . It was all set up before the firing."

Any evidence for his lack of respect from A & S? Or are we just continuing to flame away? If this was all set up before the firing the BoV wouldn't have needed a 12 hour meeting the other night.

I'm as disgusted with this as anyone but get a grip folks.

Hey guys, McIntire is a two-year school. McIntire students usually spend their first two years in A&S with a smattering from other schools. It is two-year by design, so students get a liberal arts base. Nothing worse than a business major who can't write.

My thoughts:

The BOV is unlikely to reverse its decision.
While we would all like to consulted and considered in a decision like this, the University is not a democracy. The power to hire and fire the president ultimately rests with the BOV and not with the faculty, staff, students or alumni. We should assume that the BOV did not take matter lightly and gave it serious consideration. We should also assume that the BOV believes that it is doing what is best for the University.
Someone needs to assume the position of interim president until a permanent replacement is found and Zeithaml should not be criticized for doing so. He is stepping into the middle of a difficult situation and should be credited to having the guts to do so. By the way, Zeithaml seems to have the knowledge of strategic planning that appears to be needed at the moment.
While all have the right to their opinions and the right to express those opinions, at some point everyone in the University community needs to get over it, move on, support the BOV in their difficult task of finding a replacement and get back to work making the University one of the best academic institutions in the country.

!!~ June 20th, 2012 | 12:03pm

"He is hype ambitious and saw his chance to pounce. It was all set up before the firing. I hope the CD or somebody will get FOIA for his emails with Dragas and BOV."

**Well, another rumor monger dismissed by Hawes' first press conference question.

Excuse me but he gets paid how much from the state of Virginia? $408,000? What's he do again?