U of C VP finance appointed

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

Because cash is what feeds the monster, the University of Calgary’s appointment of a new vice-president finance and services is of no small consequence to students and administration.

Gail Stephens, the incoming vp, will take over from current-VP Mike McAdams May 5. Her role will be managing the U of C’s finances, human resources, information technology and investments.

Stephens comes from a varied background. Starting out as an elementary teacher in Ontario and Manitoba, she worked her way up to some very important positions including serving as the chief administrative officer for the City of Winnipeg-a role in which she was responsible for both the police and fire departments, among others. Most recently she served as the chief executive officer for the British Columbia Pension Corporation-an organization with about 350,000 members and handling roughly $60 billion.

“The head-hunters that were doing the search knew me and thought I had some of the attributes they were looking for,” said Stephens.

U of C president Dr. Harvey Weingarten stressed that the vp finance and services role is an important one.

“We are a $900 million plus business here, it is a huge, complicated place,” said Weingarten. “There is a lot of money flowing through here.”

Stephens noted that, although she would have to wait until she had some experience at the U of C and its management before she could identify specific goals, she does have a couple of ideas in mind.

“One of them will be to maximize the new PeopleSoft software,” said Stephens. “There are always implementation woes with any new system. It doesn’t matter what organization [will take some time to adjust to].”

Due to mass construction going on at the U of C, a new vp will be hired to attend exclusively to development projects, but Stephens will also play a role, as she will control the money for those projects.

Weingarten expressed delight that Stephens would be joining his administration.

“We feel very fortunate to have attracted her,” said Weingarten. “She has a wealth of experience in areas where we face some of the biggest challenges and opportunities.”

For her part, Stephens feels up to the task.

“I’ve [led] many organizations through major change,” she said. “I’m pretty good at coming in and helping an organization become great.”


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