John Pepper Jr. ’60, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, will assume the office of University vice president for finance and administration Jan. 1, Yale officials announced Tuesday morning.
Pepper, who had been a member of the Yale Corporation for eight years and served as senior fellow since 2002, will resign both as senior fellow and from the Corporation itself when he takes his new post.
“I value the place and feel loyalty to it and devote my enormous respect for [Yale President Richard] Levin and his team,” Pepper said.
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, building construction and maintenance, and the operation of utilities and dining halls.
“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. Levin said the University selected Pepper for the post over the summer, but he was not able to assume the office until January because of prior commitments. Yale Vice President of New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander has filled the position on an interim basis.
Levin said Corporation member 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.
Pepper said his service as vice president may be short — he said he does not expect to serve more than two years — but Levin said his appointment “creates a precedent that allows [Yale] to attract great people in the future.”
“His reputation [is] as a person who creates a fantastic climate within the organization he’s leading,” Levin said.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer called the appointment a “coup for Yale.” She said she expects Pepper to help Yale’s administrators become “an even stronger managerial team.”
Improving labor relations after the two recent divisive strikes will be one of the new vice president’s major tasks. Pepper will sit on a new committee devoted to improving the relationship between Yale and its unions. Bob Proto, the president of Local 35 — which represents Yale’s service and maintenance workers — has said in the past that the University and labor leaders agreed to delay serious work on the issue until the appointment of the new vice president.
Dan Radford, executive secretary of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, said he has worked well with Pepper on a variety of community issues.
“I would certainly predict that the labor relations at the University will be improving under his leadership,” Radford said.
Pepper said he hopes to take advantage of the end of the strike to improve labor relations.
Yale Provost Susan Hockfield said Pepper would help implement the University’s budget reduction strategy and make Yale more efficient and economical.
Alexander said Pepper, in addition to trying to increase efficiency, will 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, and he serves as a member of the Beijing Mayor’s Advisory Council.
He also spent eight years working for the creation of the new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Sue Feamster, the center’s vice president for advancement, said. She said Pepper will continue to serve on its executive committee and development committee.
Alexander, who will continue to serve as vice president of New Haven and state affairs, said he is “looking forward to refocusing on [his] original assignment.”
“The workload [of both positions] 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 to fill both positions and that a group of candidates has been identified.