Alumni association CEO headed to Cal-Berkeley

Phil Esten served as CEO of the U’s alumni association since 2010.

Derek Wetmore

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association will lose one of its leaders this October.

Phil Esten, who has served the University of Minnesota Alumni Association for the last two-and-a-half years as president and chief executive officer, will take a new job as an associate athletic director at the University of California, Berkeley, the UMAA announced Thursday in a release.

Esten joined the UMAA in 2010 as CEO, only the seventh in the organization’s 108-year history. Esten’s base salary for 2011 was $202,916.

He was also the University’s associate AD before joining the UMAA. In that role, he was an important player in bringing football back to campus with the development of TCF Bank Stadium.

“The University of Minnesota is always going to have a special place for [my family],” Esten said. “This has nothing to do with the University of Minnesota and everything to do with the opportunity. … When the opportunity was presented, it just felt like it was the right thing for [my family].”

At Berkeley, Esten will head fundraising efforts for the 29-sport athletics department, and join AD Sandy Barbour’s senior leadership team.

The University will appoint a transition team to look for Esten’s replacement, according to UMAA board chair Kent Horsager.

“Throughout Phil’s time at the UMAA, his primary objectives have been to engage all alumni and to foster relationships across campus,” Horsager said in the release. “We will maintain that focus during the transition.”

Esten said he expects to begin Oct. 5, he said, to help the UMAA with the transition.