James Barnett, facilities, development and operations associate vice president at the University of West Florida, was named interim CEO for UWF’s Business Enterprises, Inc. at the meeting of its board of directors on Dec. 6.
UWF President Judy Bense, who also serves as the board’s chair, said Barnett is no stranger to the business of BEI.
“He knows our processes and has been directly involved in BEI projects since the beginning,” Bense said. “His leadership will ensure progress, but not slow us down.”
Barnett replaces former CEO Matt Altier and will oversee BEI’s current projects and commitments during the transition period. Bense said a transition team has been formed to address financial and legal issues during the interim.
“The business of BEI is being taken care of,” Bense said. “Our team pulled together and did that.”
“We can transform all we want internally, but this will be a game changer.” -Suzzanne Lewis
The board addressed whether the next CEO hired would also serve as UWF vice president of financial services as Altier did, something that Bense said likely would not happen.
“Initially, the vice president of financial services was to be CEO, though for rehiring, the authority lies with the board,” Bense said. “BEI, in my opinion, needs to have its own leadership.”
The board unanimously agreed that the search for a new, permanent CEO should begin soon after the beginning of 2013.
The board continued its discussion about the implementation of UWF’s new campus master plan, particularly its plan for the proposed University Park. The board agreed that solicitation for park designs should also begin soon after the new year to keep the project on target for a fall 2014 completion.
The construction of the park, which will require the relocation of UWF’s tennis courts and intramural fields, will act as a symbol of the ongoing changes at the university, according to BEI board member Suzanne Lewis.
“We can transform all we want internally, but this will be a game changer,” Lewis said.