The University of Phoenix on Tuesday announced that it had selected the top finance officer at the University of Michigan as its new president. Timothy P. Slottow, Michigan’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will assume the presidency of the largest private university in North America in mid-June.
At Michigan, Mr. Slottow has been overseeing a controversial proposal from Accenture, a consulting company, that called for moving hundreds of staff jobs out of academic departments and into a centralized office that would handle the same work, with fewer people. That "shared services" proposal, and a lack of consultation about it, drew such strong opposition from faculty members—including from a former Michigan president—that university leaders in December announced a "pause" in putting the program into effect.
Calls to Mr. Slottow seeking comment on his new position were referred to Michigan’s public-relations office, which said he was "not able to take calls" on the topic.
At Michigan, where he began in 1998 as an associate vice president for finance and became CFO in 2003, Mr. Slottow oversaw an operating budget of $6.3-billion. Before that he worked in finance and planning positions at Amtrak and the City of Seattle, and as a manager at Accenture. Unlike some of Phoenix’s recent presidents, he does not have a Ph.D., but he does have an M.B.A., from the University of Washington—and, according to a profile in The Michigan Daily, a black belt in tae kwon do.
The president is Phoenix’s top academic official. The university has a Board of Trustees, but executives at its parent company, the Apollo Education Group, have final say over university matters.
At Phoenix, Mr. Slottow will oversee a university that has faced several years of declining enrollment. That trend showed little sign of abating on Tuesday, when Apollo reported that both overall enrollment and new enrollment for the quarter ending February 28 were just over 16 percent lower than a year ago. The university, which until a few years ago had enrollments of well over 400,000 students, now has 250,300.
Mr. Slottow will be the seventh president of Phoenix since its founding, in 1976, by its first, John G. Sperling. He will succeed William J. Pepicello, who has been president since 2006.
Apollo also disclosed that it had recently received a subpoena from the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Inspector General, requesting documents dating to 2007 related to University of Phoenix marketing, student recruiting, academic grading, and other matters.