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Avijit Ghosh named interim CFO for U of I System
Veteran administrator will oversee financial functions during national search

July 20, 2017

URBANA, Ill. – Avijit Ghosh, a longtime University of Illinois administrator who has served in a variety of leadership roles, has been named interim chief financial officer of the three-university System, President Tim Killeen announced Thursday.

Ghosh will assume the position in a designate capacity effective Sept. 1, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees at its Sept. 7 meeting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He will serve during a national search for a permanent replacement to succeed Walter K. Knorr, who will retire from the U of I System on Aug. 31 after more than a decade as vice president and chief financial officer.

Killeen said Ghosh will bring a deep background in both financial management and System operations from his earlier roles as a dean, vice president and head of the university’s Chicago-based hospital and clinics.

“Avijit’s talents and experience will ensure that the U of I System doesn’t miss a beat in providing the financial resources that are critical to support our world-class academic and research programs,” Killeen said. “I cannot thank him enough for stepping up yet again to serve our students and the public good.”

In his new role, Ghosh will be responsible for all System financial functions, overseeing costs, revenues, capital expenditures, investments and debt. He also will work with the executive vice president and leadership from the three universities to develop and implement an annual budget that has grown to more than $5.7 billion System-wide.

Ghosh, 67, joined the U of I in 2001 as dean of the College of Business and a professor of business administration in Urbana-Champaign. From 2008-2011, he served as vice president for technology and economic development, a position that has since been restructured and retitled as vice president for economic development and innovation.

He served as senior advisor to then-President Robert Easter from 2011 to 2014, when he was named chief executive officer of the University of Illinois Hospital. He had been scheduled to leave the hospital on Aug. 31 and return to the College of Business in Urbana-Champaign as the new head of the Department of Business Administration. The College of Business has named longtime business administration professor Cele Otnes to serve as interim head of the department until Ghosh completes his service as interim chief financial officer and assumes the department head role. An interim chief executive officer for the hospital will be announced later.

Ghosh earned his bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University, a post-graduate diploma in business management from Xavier Institute and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa.

Killeen said an advisory committee has been formed to lead a national search for a permanent replacement for Knorr, who has served as vice president and chief financial officer since 2007. Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara Wilson will head the committee, comprised of members from each of the System’s three universities.


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with more than 81,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.