UNM President Bob Frank’s time at the helm is ending six months earlier than expected, after he and the Board of Regents reached a settlement on Tuesday.
The agreement officially ends Frank’s tenure on Dec. 31. University Provost Chaouki Abdallah will take over as interim head of the University for the spring semester, while a Regent Robert Doughty-led committee continues its search for the next University president.
“The Board of Regents has determined it is in the best interest of UNM to bring a quick resolution to this matter that is both fair and doesn’t impede our ability to move forward as an institution and conduct a successful presidential search,” Doughty stated in a UNM release.
Frank, who has been with the University since 2012, earlier this semester that he would not renew his contract that ends on May 31, 2017. He didn’t offer specifics as to why, but later the same day the University announced that immediately following the contract’s end, Frank would start at the position of director of the Center for Innovation in Health and Education on North Campus. His salary was to be $350,000 in that position.
After Tuesday’s settlement, Frank is still to lead that position, but he will now be making considerably less – $190,000.
In that position, the scope of which is still to be determined, Frank is expected to utilize his “executive skills in clinical health care and innovative applications to advance the mission of the Health Sciences Center and UNM,” according to a statement from the University.
The developments come following the leak of an external report placing Frank in an unflattering light as far as his interactions with employees, of which specific details have been sparse. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the report at least seven individuals who had “concerns about Frank’s management or communication style,” describing him as “impatient, bitingly sarcastic, condescending and rude.”
The Board of Regents met with Frank on Wednesday for more than three hours behind closed doors to discuss an “internal investigation,” presumably a result of the report. It was also reported at that time that Frank was planning to sue the University for the report, which he called “defamatory.”
Nothing came of those deliberations, and another closed meeting was held before Tuesday’s open regents meeting, where the settlement was reached.
The Associated Students of UNM President Kyle Biederwolf said in a statement on Tuesday that he was “shocked” by the announcement.
“But we are committed to ensuring that UNM students are supported more than ever during what is already a time of change for the University,” Biederwolf went on to say. “We will work with Provost Abdallah in the next months towards a smooth transition of leadership.”
According to the UNM statement, Craig White, dean of the Anderson School of Management, will hold the position of provost in the interim beginning Jan. 1.