Pepper named VP of finance

John Pepper Jr. ’60 will be named the University’s next vice president for finance and administration today, Yale President Richard Levin said Monday night.

A former chairman and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble and senior fellow of the Yale Corporation, Pepper will assume the position of vice president on Jan. 1.

As vice president for finance and administration, Pepper will be responsible to the president for financial and non-academic administrative matters and will act as the ex-officio treasurer. Among other duties, the vice president is responsible for financial planning, auditing, building construction and maintenance, and the operation of utilities and dining halls.

Pepper has been the senior fellow of the Corporation — the University’s highest decision-making body — since 2002.

“We’re all very eager to work with him [in this new capacity],” Levin said. “There are so many ways in which he’s going to add depth to the team.”

The position had been vacant since Robert Culver, who had served as vice president for two years, left the post last summer. Yale Vice President of New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander ’65 had filled the position since then on an interim basis.

“It’s an example of the kind of person he is and the kind of loyalty Yale invites that [Pepper] is coming back to serve his alma mater,” Alexander said.

Pepper could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

When he assumes his new position, Pepper will resign from the Corporation, ending his eight-year tenure. Levin said Roland Betts ’68 — the chairman and chief executive officer of Chelsea Piers, L.P — will be the new senior fellow, a position with responsibilities including chairing Corporation meetings in the University president’s absence and keeping in frequent contact with Levin.

Levin said the University selected Pepper for the post this summer, but he was not able to assume the office until January because of prior commitments, including his work on the new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The center will celebrate both the history of the Underground Railroad and modern examples of the struggle for freedom, the center’s Web site said.

Pepper thinks of the job as a commitment that probably will not last for more than two years, Levin said. But Levin said the appointment of Pepper “creates a precedent that allows [Yale] to attract great people in the future.”

“He’s the person with great wisdom,” Levin said. “His reputation [is] as a person who creates a fantastic climate within the organization he’s leading.”

Yale Provost Susan Hockfield said Pepper is joining Yale’s administration at “a key moment.” She said part of the University’s budget reduction strategy is looking at ways to make Yale more efficient and economical and Procter and Gamble is a national leader in best practices.

“We have a huge amount to learn from him,” Hockfield said. “I think it’s a brilliant appointment.”

Alexander said Pepper, in addition to working on increasing the budget’s efficiency, will also work on the major building and renovation plans already underway at the University.

Pepper is currently a director of Boston Scientific Corp., Motorola Inc. and the Xerox Corp. He is also involved in Chinese affairs, including serving as a member of the Beijing Mayor’s Advisory Council.

Alexander, who will continue to serve as vice president of New Haven and State Affairs, said he enjoyed working with and meeting a larger part of the University but was “looking forward to refocusing on [his] original assignment.”

“The workload was like having final exams all the time,” Alexander said.

Two major administrative posts — the associate vice president for human resources and the associate vice president for facilities — remain unfilled. Alexander said a search is underway for both positions and a group of candidates has been identified.

Pepper is the second former Corporation member to become a University officer under Levin, following University Secretary Linda Lorimer LAW ’77. With Pepper’s appointment, four of Yale’s top seven administrative officers — Levin, Lorimer, Alexander and Pepper — are graduates of the University.

Levin said Pepper will move to New Haven from his current home in Cincinnati, Ohio but will probably keep his residence there as well.


  • ibenmeir

    Due to some mix-up, the version of this column published was not authorized or approved before publication, and differs in substantial ways from the column I actually wrote. The News is in the process of fixing this, but until then, please find the actual column below:

  • ibenmeir

    Since word first broke of Friday’s raid at Elevate, the topic has dominated our campus conversation. Charges of police brutality contend with more cautious and conciliatory claims. With this in mind, we must be conscious of the implications of our conversation, and not let our reactions to the raid go to waste, or worse, to go sour

    Instead, we must recognize that the events of Friday night were all too typical for our city, and that this is the real problem. What we are condemning as police brutality is in fact little more than urban reality, which is all too often the same thing. It is this harsh reality we must contend with and seek to change, rather than contenting ourselves with restoring the artificial distance between our community and greater New Haven.
    The key point to remember is that the students at Elevate were treated with common, rather than exceptional, harshness. Our response must not be to demand an apology from the police for treating Yale students like average New Haven residents, dragging us down from our ivory tower into the rainy streets of the city. Such a reaction validates the worst preconceptions about our school and its students. It accomplishes nothing beyond proving our arrogance and sense of entitlement; an entitlement that our status as students does nothing to justify.

    Our SAT scores do not make us special, and our acceptance letters did nothing to put us above the law. If we find the behavior of our police force unacceptable, we must do so as citizens of our city – not as visitors offended that that city dares to touch us. While we attend Yale, we are residents of New Haven; we can vote here, we work here, we shop here, and we live and sleep here for the better part of four years. The fact that we are here to study is no reason to expect or assume some elevated position over the world around us. Yale’s walls and gates may create a physical separation from the outside world, but they do not divide us from our identity as citizens of New Haven, and must not be allowed to enforce a psychological barrier between us and the city.

    Instead, we must insist on a standard for New Haven as high as the one we have come to expect for ourselves. Outrage at being treated like average New Haven residents reeks of condescension, and can only be met with contempt and distrust from those citizens whose daily experience we would be condemning as unacceptable for ourselves. If we believe that the conduct of the police during the raid was excessive, we must insist that it would have been excessive even if it had not touched us a community. Anything else is nothing but unjustified and unjustifiable elitism.


  • ibenmeir

    When similar actions have occurred without directly touching Yale students, we have largely been silent. This is forgivable as a result of naivete, but not as a manifestation of apathy In the days and weeks ahead, we will have an opportunity to declare through our actions what the cause of our past silence has been.

    The apathetic, when their comfort is encroached, make a lot of noise and then return to apathy. The naïve cannot return to ignorance, and therefore cannot return to inaction. If our complaint about Operation Nightlife is that Yale students were treated in a way that no person should be treated, we have to show that our concern extends beyond our gates and ourselves. If our complaint is merely that Yale students were treated in a way that no Yale student should be treated, we deserve nothing less than the resentment and anger that the other residents of our city will rightly render us in reply.