I am pleased to announce a transition plan for system offices when Barb Wilson leaves in July to become president of the University of Iowa.
Vice President/Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller Avijit Ghosh has agreed to serve as interim executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs. Pending Board of Trustees approval at its meeting Thursday, Avijit would assume his new interim role on July 15 and serve until a national search is conducted for Barb’s permanent successor.
Paul Ellinger, associate chancellor and vice provost for budget and resource planning in Urbana-Champaign, has agreed to step in for Avijit as interim vice president/CFO and comptroller, and also would begin his new duties July 15, pending board approval.
Avijit also has shared with me the bittersweet news that he plans to retire once his new interim duties end, so we also will be conducting a national search for a permanent vice president/CFO.
The news release below announcing the appointments will be shared with media later today.
I am so grateful to Avijit and Paul for sharing their ample talents and years of experience, and hope you will all join me in thanking them for their dedication and commitment to the University of Illinois System.
May 19, 2021
Avijit Ghosh named interim executive VP for U of I System
Longtime UIUC administrator Paul Ellinger will serve as interim VP/CFO
Avijit Ghosh, vice president/chief financial officer and comptroller for the University of Illinois System since 2018, has been named interim executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 15, President Tim Killeen announced today.
Ghosh will serve until a national search is conducted for a permanent successor to Barbara J. Wilson, who will take office July 15 as president of the University of Iowa. Ghosh’s appointment will be considered by the system’s Board of Trustees at its meeting on Thursday.
In his new role, Ghosh will serve as second-in-command to the president, senior operating officer and chief academic officer of Illinois’ flagship university system.
Killeen also announced that Paul Ellinger will serve as interim vice president/CFO and comptroller when Ghosh moves from that position to his new interim role.
Ellinger, associate chancellor and vice provost for budget and resource planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), will also move into his interim position July 15, pending board approval this week.
Killeen said a national search also will be conducted for a permanent vice president/CFO and comptroller. Ghosh, 71, plans to retire when his service as interim executive vice president ends.
Executive vice president/VPAA
Ghosh joined the U of I System in 2001 as dean of the College of Business and a professor of business administration at UIUC. He has since served in a variety of senior leadership positions that also include heading the system’s economic development efforts and the University of Illinois Hospital.
Killeen said Ghosh brings a unique set of skills to the role through his nearly 40 years of experience as an educator and administrator, coupled with deep knowledge of the three-university system from his earlier roles.
“Avijit has seen our operations from nearly every angle, including from his current position as a key member of the system leadership team for the last three years,” Killeen said. “His knowledge and talents will help us keep building on the power of our academic and research missions, and I am grateful to him for taking on this important new role.”
The position was created in 2016 to establish a clear No. 2 executive for the system, with added responsibilities as senior operating officer along with traditional duties as chief academic officer. Wilson, a longtime U of I faculty member and administrator, served as the inaugural executive vice president.
Ghosh also will work closely with Killeen to advocate for the U of I System and elevate its national profile by building on connections with legislators, funding agencies and leaders in higher education, communities and industry.
Along with his roles as vice president/CFO and dean of UIUC’s College of Business, Ghosh served from 2008-2011 as vice president for technology and economic development. The system-wide position has since been restructured and retitled as vice president for economic development and innovation. He served as senior advisor to then-President Robert Easter from 2011 to 2014, when he was named chief executive officer of the U of I Hospital.
Before joining the U of I System, he spent more than 20 years as a professor and administrator at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Ghosh earned his bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University, a post-graduate diploma in business management from Xavier Institute and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa.
As interim vice president/CFO and comptroller, Ellinger will be responsible for all system financial functions, overseeing costs, revenues, capital expenditures, investments and debt. He will also work with Killeen, Ghosh and leadership from the three universities to develop and implement an annual budget that has grown to more than $6.7 billion system-wide.
If approved, Ellinger also would be elected as the system’s comptroller, which would be vacated by Ghosh when he moves to his interim role.
Ellinger currently serves as UIUC’s chief financial officer, providing strategic budget planning and allocation advice to the chancellor and the provost, and guidance to the university in areas related to budget, finance, planning and resource allocation.
“Paul’s years of experience in budgeting and finance at UIUC and his deep ties as a faculty member and alumnus make him an ideal fit for this role,” Killeen said. “I am grateful to him for agreeing to share his many talents to help guide our efforts systemwide.”
Ellinger, 63, joined the UIUC faculty in 1995, specializing in finance and accountancy in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Prior to joining the Office of the Provost in 2016, he was head of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. He is a published expert in financial modeling, credit risk and financial management of institutions.
He is a three-degree graduate of UIUC, earning a doctorate in finance, a master’s degree in agricultural economics and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural mechanization.
The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with more than 90,000 students, about 26,000 full-time equivalent faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 23,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.