NU restructures administration, removes executive vice president position


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Executive vice president Nim Chinniah speaks during “Conversations with the President” on April 12. The position of executive vice president will no longer exist when Chinniah steps down in early May.

Jonah Dylan, Campus Editor

Once executive vice president Nim Chinniah steps down in early May, his position will no longer exist, Provost Jonathan Holloway told The Daily last week.

Holloway said Northwestern has restructured its administration going forward. After Chinniah officially announced his resignation in late March, former Feinberg School of Medicine chief operating officer Craig Johnson was named interim senior vice president for business and finance on April 13.

“Instead of having a chief operating officer, which is what Nim Chinniah was, we have a chief financial officer, which is what Craig Johnson is,” Holloway said. “It’s a different kind of position in terms of how it functions within the University.”

As executive vice president, Chinniah oversaw a number of departments, including investments, human resources and community relations.

University President Morton Schapiro told The Daily on Friday that it’s “unusual” to expect that one person would be able to oversee the number of things that the executive vice president is expected to, which was a main reason for the restructuring.

Holloway said he has taken on some of Chinniah’s former responsibilities while the remaining obligations have gone to Johnson. The University vice presidents who reported to Chinniah will now report to either Holloway or Johnson. The new structure will require that the two administrators work closely, Holloway said.

“Whereas my job is about authorizing the budget, the CFO’s job is about implementing the budget,” he said. “So if we aren’t cooperating, you’ve got a trainwreck on your hands.”

Schapiro said Johnson assumed his new role on April 16. There is currently an overlap period in which both Johnson and Chinniah are at NU before the latter officially leaves, Schapiro said.

While Johnson has only been named to an interim role, Schapiro said he’s been impressed with his work throughout his time at NU and said Johnson would be a strong candidate for the permanent position. There is no official timetable for when Chinniah’s permanent successor will be named.

Chinniah — who has also worked at Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago — told The Daily in early April he wasn’t sure what he would do next, but said he enjoyed his time at NU.

“I’m wide open,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to declare unrestricted free agency and kind of go out in the market. So really I’m just looking at all types of options, both in higher ed, outside of higher ed. Lots of conversations that will take place over the next three to six months.”

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