The University lost its chief financial negotiator Thursday when JoAnne Jackson, senior vice president for Finance and Operations, resigned.
Jackson, who played a key role in securing contracts such as the Fairview merger, will take a similar post as chancellor of financial affairs for the University of Alabama school system. She’ll begin her position after her last day at the University on Feb. 28.
Jackson said she simply wanted to try something new.
“It’s not because of a complicated set of reasons,” Jackson said. “It just sounds like an opportunity.”
Jackson was appointed to her position by former University President Nils Hasselmo. She is one of the last Hasselmo cabinet members to leave since President Mark Yudof took the reins of office last summer.
Eric Kruse, associate vice president in Facilities Management, said Jackson made, at times, unpopular decisions. But they were necessary to be fiscally responsible. Her strong leadership will be a loss to the University, he said.
“I feel that she’s a person that’s both tough and very smart in helping run the business of the University,” Kruse said.
Jackson’s involvement at the University spans more than four years. She began her University career as chief financial officer at the Academic Health Center.
Jackson was instrumental in negotiating the University Hospital and Fairview Health Systems merger. The move helped give the school financial stability after it faced a projected $20 million annual deficit.
Jackson’s current position requires her to report to the Board of Regents regarding the University’s finances. She also makes key financial decisions on campus planning, facilities management and transportation.
One of Jackson’s most recent impacts on the University was in May. She made the final decision to increase contract, daily and off-peak parking rates.
Kruse said he will remember Jackson most for her initiative in fund raising during Yudof’s “Take Pride in U” campaign.
With Jackson’s lead, the University raised more than $10,000 to clean up campus, Kruse said. Much of the money will go toward improving student study space by adding new furniture.
Jackson said working in the educational sphere was something new to her when she first arrived. But now she’s ready for her next job.
“I’ve learned a lot from the academic side,” she said, adding that she will miss her friends and colleagues.
Yudof said he will hire an interim vice president in the next few weeks until Jackson’s position is filled.