Letter from the President: Executive Selections
Dear Sooner Family,
Over the past few months we have been working diligently to fill vacancies in executive leadership positions. We are following a process approved by the Board of Regents as we search for the best possible candidates for these positions. Ten executive and top-level positions were posted in August and September and advertised nationally to help ensure a wide and diverse set of candidates.
Once applications are received by the university, each is screened based on the requirements described in the job descriptions. Each position is assigned a search committee that recommends several candidates to me before I take the final recommendation to the Board of Regents. As would be expected, search committees for positions involving significant faculty, staff and student interaction have greater representation from those constituencies. Similarly, positions with multi-campus responsibilities have committees that include representatives from each campus. Input from Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and Student Government was considered for the composition of the search committees.
I am pleased to announce that we are making great progress on the executive searches and that I will be presenting multiple individuals to the Board of Regents for formal approval at the December Regents meeting. If the candidates begin their service with the University prior to Board action, their service will be clearly noted as being contingent upon Board approval.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
This position is responsible for leading financial planning, providing strategic management of accounting and finance functions, record-keeping, and financial reporting. Scope of responsibility for the CFO includes oversight of Information Technology, Financial Services, Budget Office, and Bursar’s Office. This role plays an integral part in developing and implementing financial procedures to improve and maintain the financial well-being of the university.
Reports directly to the President
Candidate: Ken Rowe (internal candidate)
Ken Rowe has more than three decades of finance and administration experience in higher education and in the private industry. He joined the University of Oklahoma in 1998 and is currently the Interim Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for the University. Prior to this role, he was the Vice President of Finance and Administration for the OU Health Sciences Center, a position he held since 2001. Rowe also held progressively more responsible positions at Bank One, Liberty Bancorp, and First City Texas.
He is a certified public accountant in Texas and holds a Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from East Central University.
Chief Audit Executive
This position will provide leadership, direction, and administrative oversight to the internal audit operations of all campuses governed by the OU Board of Regents: The University of Oklahoma, Cameron University, and Rogers State University.
This individual will serve as a trusted advisor to both the President and the OU Board of Regents. The position will oversee coordination of and responsibility for activities that promote accountability, integrity, and efficiency in university operations, ensure that university activities reinforce ethical conduct, and maximize compliance with applicable laws, regulations, rules, financial policies and procedures to assist in the management of university risk.
Reports to the Board of Regents and to the President
Candidate: Charles Wright (external candidate)
Charles Wright has over 20 years of professional experience in the audit field and recently served as the Director of Audit Services at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. He also held senior audit positions for ATMI, Citizens Communications Company, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, GE Real Estate and Security Capital Group and Affiliates. Additionally, he has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Texas State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas.
Wright has extensive experience in the development and leadership of multiple audit functions to establish value-added internal audit activities. He facilitated Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs to drive risk ownership and accountability as well as diversified experience to strategically improve business processes and enhance internal controls. Wright is also a seasoned executive and has experience in communicating and collaborating with board members, senior management and all levels within organizations.
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
This position is responsible for the development of updated unified strategic marketing plans and dynamic public relations campaigns supported by best practices and data analytics and currently manages the video marketing, digital marketing, web marketing, special events, and media relations teams. The position’s goal is to build awareness of the university’s current strengths while also delivering engaging messages that advance and protect the university’s reputation and mission. The Vice President has oversight of internal and external communications for the Norman campus, Health Sciences Center, OU Medicine enterprise in OKC, and Tulsa campus through collaboration and teamwork with the President, executives, and academic leadership to ensure consistency and cohesiveness in delivered messages.
Reports directly to the President
Candidate: Lauren Brookey (external candidate)
Lauren Brookey has over 40 years of in-depth communications, public and media relations, external affairs and marketing experience in both higher education and corporate environments. She currently serves as the vice president of external affairs and the president of the TCC Foundation at Tulsa Community College, a position she held since 2015. Prior to that role, she was the vice president of external affairs for fifteen years. Before joining Tulsa Community College, she was a vice president and partner at Schnake, Turnbo, Brookey and Associates, a public relations counseling agency providing strategic public relations counsel, advertising, marketing services, media relations and public affairs. She also held various positions with increasing responsibility in the areas of marketing, media relations and journalism with Ward Creative Communications, Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority, Tulsa Tribune and Tulsa World.
Brookey has a Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and has achieved Accreditation status in the Public Relations Society of America and was later honored as a Fellow in the Public Relations profession.
Executive Director of Governmental Affairs
This position oversees and coordinates the University’s positions and communications with state, federal, municipal, and tribal governments in furtherance of the University’s mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service. The Executive Director has a firm understanding of the workings of the various governmental entities and accurately and promptly identifies emerging areas of significance to the University. The Executive Director coordinates with appropriate University officials and offers recommendations to advance the University’s interests in the various governmental spheres. The Executive Director ethically cultivates and strengthens the University’s relationships at all levels of government.
Reports to the Vice President and General Counsel
Candidate: John Woods (external candidate)
John Woods has an extensive background in policy advancement, political advocacy, and government relations in working with federal, state and local municipalities over the last eighteen years. Additionally, he has had a multi-faceted career of press engagement, public speaking and media management. He is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Fund and previously served for five years as the President and CEO of the Norman Chamber of Commerce. He also held the position as the Policy Advisor for the Oklahoma House of Representatives - Office of the Speaker and various roles supporting U.S. Congressmen.
Woods has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.