UC Berkeley appoints new vice chancellor for administration and finance

University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau today (Thursday, Jan. 20) announced the appointment of John Wilton, an economist and senior manager with nearly 25 years’ experience with the World Bank, as UC Berkeley’s chief administrative officer.

John Wilton

John Wilton (Peg Skorpinski photo) Right-click photo for high-resolution version.

Wilton is expected to begin his new position as vice chancellor-administration and finance on Feb. 1. He was selected after a nationwide search that followed the departure of Nathan Brostrom, the campus’s former vice chancellor-administration, who took a post early last year at the UC Office of the President.

Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary and Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Coley have been performing these duties in the interim.

Wilton, 55, most recently was a managing director and the director of international research for Farallon Capital Management LLC, a global, multi-strategy, U.S.-based investment manager. Prior to that, he worked from 1982-2006 for the World Bank, which provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries worldwide, in positions including chief financial officer, vice president for strategy, finance and risk management, and senior economist.

“Given the state of California’s economy and UC’s severe budget crisis, we are thrilled that John, with his vast experience in finance, economics and managing highly complex, large organizations, will guide us through these difficult times,” said Birgeneau. “His work with the World Bank also has equipped him with a keen understanding of world politics, global economies, the forging of public-private sector partnerships and the importance of public service.”

Wilton will partner with the chancellor and the executive vice chancellor and provost to set the campus’s long-range administrative and financial goals, and take a strong leadership role in management of the campus, the development of campus policies, and the distribution and utilization of financial, capital and human resources.

This vice chancellor position has broadened to include leadership of increasingly urgent campus priorities: the continuing design and implementation of Operational Excellence, the campus’s initiative to reduce costs and improve campus operations; stabilization of the budget; and the establishment of a sustainable financial model for the future. The focus on these goals as the immediate agenda for the next vice chancellor led to a change in title from vice chancellor-administration to vice chancellor-administration and finance. Erin Gore will continue to serve as chief financial officer, reporting directly to Wilton.

Wilton will manage UC Berkeley’s annual operating budget of more than $1.8 billion, including nearly $700 million in research funding. The divisions he will oversee comprise nearly 2,400 employees and campus operations that include financial and human resources, auxiliary and business services, athletics, and environment, health and public safety.

Wilton said he is honored to join UC Berkeley, and to help at such a crucial time in its history.

“If the U.S. is going to be competitive in a global environment, education and first-class research is central,” said Wilton. “The preeminent public research university in the world is UC Berkeley, and it faces serious challenges to maintain its excellence. I felt that if I was going to make an important contribution, nothing could be more important than working for Berkeley, and working there now, because the next few years could be crucial.”

“One of my priorities will be to ensure that UC Berkeley is well-positioned and resourced to succeed in this difficult environment,” he said. “I look forward to working with the chancellor, his senior administration, and the faculty, staff and students, not only to meet Berkeley’s current financial headwinds, but to ensure that it has a sustainable financial model that will enable it to adapt and grow to meet the challenges ahead.”

Wilton, a British national, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Sussex University. He left his Ph.D. program at Cambridge University in 1982 to join the World Bank’s Young Professionals Program, and remained with the international financial institution until 2006.

While at the World Bank, he worked as an economist in several of the bank’s overseas operations, including in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, then became the bank’s director and chief credit officer, and ultimately was chief financial officer and vice president for strategy, finance and risk.

The World Bank’s financial and technical expertise leads to development projects that improve living standards and reduce poverty worldwide. Last year, it provided $46.9 billion for 303 projects in developing countries.

Wilton left the bank in 2006 to become a managing director of Farallon Capital Management LLC, where he established and built out a dedicated macroeconomic research capability. Two years later, he also began work as a consultant to Hellman and Friedman, a large private equity firm based in San Francisco.

A resident of Marin County, Wilton is married with two children.

Information about Wilton’s compensation is online at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/24841.