University names new senior vice president for finance and operations

University of Missouri’s Brian Burnett will be starting on Nov. 17 after approval from the Board of Regents.

Olivia Johnson

The University of Minnesota has named its senior vice president for finance and operations — a new position created in March by University President Eric Kaler.

Brian Burnett, pending approval from the Board of Regents at its Thursday meeting, will begin on Nov. 17 after a months-long search, said University spokesman Steve Henneberry. He said he thinks there won’t be debate about approving Burnett for the position.

“Along with the right set of experiences and skills, Brian’s commitment to public service and an understanding of the support role that operating units provide to the academic, research and outreach missions of the University are apparent,” Kaler said in a Tuesday press release.

In restructuring the University’s administration, Kaler appointed Associate Vice President of Finance and Controller Mike Volna to be the interim CFO, and appointed Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Mike Berthelsen to lead University Services for an interim period. Berthelsen’s appointment ends on Aug. 16, Henneberry said, and Burnett will reassess Berthelsen’s and Volna’s responsibilities in the new structure.

“This was something that [Kaler] asked for, just to realign his team,” Henneberry said of the new position. “What he was looking for was a way to more strategically align the finance and other operational functions across the U system to be more collaborative.”

Information technology, human resources, finance and University Services are the departments that will report to Burnett, he said.

Burnett, the vice president for finance and chief financial officer at the University of Missouri, said the University contacted him over the summer for the new position.

Burnett said he is excited to move to the Twin Cities but has a lot to learn about the campus and its system, especially since the position is broad and oversees many departments.

“This position is both the CFO of the [University of Minnesota] system and the CFO of that campus,” he said. “So it’s a little bit different.”

Burnett said he chose to take this position at the University because his daughter is a junior at the school and, as a result, he has a unique perspective on the institution.

“We’ve experienced life as a parent, we’ve paid tuition bills through the IT systems this position will oversee, we’ve gone through parent orientation,” he said. “Our daughter is having a great academic experience at the U.”