Shauna King, University vice president for finance and business operations, will be stepping down on Aug. 31.
University President Peter Salovey announced Wednesday that after nine years at the helm of the University’s finances, King would not be returning for the next academic year. Under her leadership, King was instrumental in helping the University navigate the 2008 financial crisis, addressing the University’s financial deficit, and establishing new business operation systems, Salovey stated. Though administrators championed King’s achievements, some professors interviewed said they looked forward to a new direction in how University finances are handled.
“The University will continue to benefit for generations to come from the excellent business practices initiated with Shauna’s oversight — and from the concerted effort, of which she was an integral part, to address our budget deficit,” Salovey wrote. “Through her efforts, we have bolstered our strategic and analytical resources and fostered a culture of administrative excellence. I have been deeply grateful to have her counsel and partnership during my term as provost and now as president.”
In an statement to colleagues in Finance and Business Operations, which was obtained by the News, King cited personal reasons as the driving factor for her decision to step down. She said that during her nine years at Yale, her husband has continued to live in Texas, and she now looks forward to “call[ing] it quits” on the Texas-Connecticut commute. King’s decision comes on the heels of a family milestone as well, with her youngest child graduating from high school this year.
In an email to the News, King said she was honored to work with other leaders in Finance and Business Operations, whom she commended for their time and effort in serving members of the Yale community.
“There is never a good time for this type of transition and I know we have an awful lot of really important challenges and activity at the moment,” King wrote to her colleagues. “Yale administration can be a model for all of higher education of what truly excellent administrative support can be — I expect nothing less and will enjoy hearing about your future accomplishments.”
King’s departure comes at a time of major change for the University’s business operations. On July 1, the University will formally launch the Workday@Yale system, a new platform for financial management and human capital management applications. This will be the first time in over a decade that Yale’s administrative software system, which controls the University’s core financial and human resources systems, is replaced.
Salovey said more details on plans for oversight and organizations of the various divisions of Finance and Business Operations will be provided later in the summer.
Following the announcement of King’s departure, some professors interviewed said they welcome the opportunity for new leadership.
One of the more controversial decisions under King’s tenure was the implementation of Shared Services, a business model that faced criticism in 2012 for its efforts to consolidate administrative tasks into centralized service units.
English professor Jill Campbell GRD ’88, who vocally opposed this decision at the time, wrote in an email that King identified herself as a leader in the “corporatization” of the University, rather than learning the specific aims and organization needs of these types of learning institutions.
“In her Shared Services initiative, King never presented an analysis of which tasks at the University were suitable for relocation to Shared Services and which were best retained in department offices and other local units,” Campbell said. “The initiative did significant damage to the smooth functioning of department offices, as it failed to recognize the valuable institutional knowledge held by staff in individual departments and other units.”
Assyriology professor Benjamin Foster GRD ’75 said this proposal to broaden shared services stirred backlash from faculty since it downgraded departmental administrative staff to part-time positions, which would be shared between academic departments. In spite of this criticism, Foster commended King’s leadership and receptiveness.
“Shauna King listened and responded to criticism of some of her initiatives with a promptness and sincerity I came to admire and appreciate,” Foster said.
Prior to coming to Yale, King served as president of PepsiCo Shared Services, in addition to global chief information officer and chief transformation officer.