University of Miami president Julio Frenk steps down for chancellor post at UCLA

Julio Frenk stepped down as president of the University of Miami on Wednesday to go on a six-month sabbatical before joining the University of California, Los Angeles in January. Joe Echevarria, UM’s CEO, has been promoted to acting president.

The University of California Board of Regents unanimously selected Frenk as chancellor of UCLA on Wednesday morning, agreeing to pay him an annual salary of $978,904, according to the LA Times.

FROM 2020: He advised the world during four pandemics. Now he leads UM during coronavirus crisis

Julio Frenk, president of University of Miami, right, speaks while Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College, listens during a Trustee Luncheon hosted by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to talk with leaders in higher education about adjusting to a post-pandemic world on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at the Jungle Island Bloom Ballroom.
Julio Frenk, president of University of Miami, right, speaks while Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College, listens during a Trustee Luncheon hosted by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to talk with leaders in higher education about adjusting to a post-pandemic world on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at the Jungle Island Bloom Ballroom.

Frenk, 70, will become the first Latino in the post in the university’s 105-year history when he takes over on Jan. 1, 2025, UCLA announced.

Frenk didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

At the University of California, a chancellor oversees one of the university’s 10 campuses and reports to the president of the university. Frenk will manage a $7.5-billion budget, as well as more than 43,000 students and 46,000 employees. He will also face a greater degree of public scrutiny there than at UM, because UC is a public institution.

At UM, South Florida’s largest private university, Frenk supervised 19,000 students and 17,000 employees. Frenk’s total compensation added up to about 2.1 million for the academic year ending in 2022, according to UM’s filings with Guidestar. The university does not disclose financial data as a private entity.

Frenk’s departure marks another leadership change at UM. Last summer, both the provost and the COO left.

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Manny Kadre, the chair of UM’s Board of Trustees, announced Wednesday afternoon that the board had appointed Echevarria, the current university’s CEO, as the acting president effective immediately. Kadre said Wednesday that Frenk left the post immediately instead of waiting until January to “to focus on his transition.”

Kadre, the chairman and CEO of MBB Auto Group, a company that owns luxury car dealerships, as well as an executive at other companies, became the board’s chair earlier this month.

“On behalf of the entire University of Miami Board of Trustees, please join me in wishing Julio the very best as he prepares to take the helm at UCLA and thanking Joe for his willingness to serve the U again at this crucial moment,” Kadre said in his note.

Echevarria, hired by UM in February 2021 as the CEO of UHealth, UM’s medical arm, also became the university’s CEO in April 2022.

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Kadre didn’t provide a specific timeline for a presidential search, a process that can often take months, but said that “over the next several months, the Board of Trustees will engage in a thoughtful and robust discussion with faculty and other important stakeholders to initiate the process of identifying the next President of the University of Miami.”

Frenk, a physician, has previously served as Mexico’s secretary of health, an executive at the World Health Organization, senior fellow for global health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and dean of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

UCLA was ranked No. 1 among public university and No. 15 among private and public universities by US News and World Report this year. UM was ranked No. 36 among private universities and No. 67 this year among private and public universities.

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