After more than 11 hours behind closed doors, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has elected Carl Zeithaml, head of UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, interim president.
"I am sincerely honored and humbled to be called upon to serve the University in this capacity," Zeithaml said. "I realize that it is a very difficult time for many people within our community, but I look forward to working with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and University leaders to move U.Va. forward."
Heywood Fralin offered the only "no" vote at the 2:30 a.m. public session, though there were two abstentions—one from A. Macdonald Caputo and another from Robert D. Hardie. Caputo and Fralin were among the Board members said to have been kept in the dark by Rector Helen Dragas ahead of the decision to oust President Teresa Sullivan, who served only two years before being told a week ago last Friday that she could resign or be fired.
"Carl Zeithaml is the perfect choice to serve as interim president while we undertake a national search for a new president," said Dragas, in a statement Tuesday morning. "His length of service, experience leading the undergraduate business school and his commitment to the University will enable him to hit the ground running."
Dragas once again acknowledge the Board’s part in what she called a "difficult week" for the UVA community.
"I want to thank the U.Va. family for enduring the tumult of this difficult week. It has been exceptionally trying for all of us, and we accept our great share of responsibility for that," Dragas said. "As we look forward to the transition to new leadership at the University, our community can rest assured that it will have a great deal of input."
According to the McIntire School’s website, Zeithaml is serving his fourth term as the school’s dean and is the F.S. Cornell Professor of Free Enterprise. He has a D.B.A. in Strategic Management from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. in Health and Hospital Administration from the University of Florida. He earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Zeithaml’s academic work focuses on the field of strategic management with an emphasis on global and competitive strategy. He joined the McIntire School in 1997. Prior to that, he spent 11 years on the faculty in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.