Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


UMN Board of Regents chair resigns leadership position

Ken Powell, who has been on the board since 2017, will finish his term as a regent. The board has called a special meeting on Thursday to figure out next steps in the future of University leadership.
Powell was up for reelection this year but was not recommended by the Regent Candidate Advisory Council.
Image by Jack Rodgers
Powell was up for reelection this year but was not recommended by the Regent Candidate Advisory Council.

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell announced Monday afternoon he resigned from his position as the board’s chair.

Powell will continue to serve as a regent through the end of his term, which ends this spring, according to a systemwide email from the now board Chair Janie Mayeron.

“He [Powell] has communicated to the full board that his decision will allow us to establish a leadership team that will guide us throughout the transitions before us and beyond,” Mayeron, who was serving as the board’s vice chair, said in the email. 

This leadership change comes two weeks after University President Joan Gabel announced her departure from the institution to serve as the chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. 

Mayeron announced a special board meeting slated for Thursday at 9 a.m., where the regents will elect a new vice chair and act on next steps for electing an interim president to fill Gabel’s position.

This is also the third out-of-the-ordinary board change in the past year. 

In June, former regent David McMillan resigned from the board before assuming the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) interim chancellor role. Then in October, former vice chair and Regent Steve Sviggum resigned from his position as vice chair following comments he made about the University of Minnesota-Morris’ student population diversity. 

Powell was elected to the board in 2017 and became the chair in 2019 after a unanimous vote by the rest of the board. He is about a month away from finishing his six-year term. 

Prior to serving on the board, Powell held various corporate leadership positions, including serving as the CEO of General Mills for nearly a decade. He currently sits on the boards of Medtronic and the Carlson Companies.  

Concerns on campus and at the Capitol 

Powell faced barriers during his bid for reelection to his at-large seat, which is currently up for election. The Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC), the state Legislature’s group of members responsible for screening board candidates, excluded Powell from their recommendations to the regent nomination joint committee in January. 

Several lawmakers shared their concerns over his reelection during the RCAC’s candidate interviews, citing the board’s year of continued controversies and the public’s growing distrust of University leadership. 

Since Powell assumed his leadership position, the board has faced backlash over multiple decisions involving administrative ethics. These include McMillian’s UMD appointment and the approval of President Joan Gabel’s position on Securian Financial’s Board of Directors.  

Powell also received criticism over his handling of Sviggum’s comments at an October board meeting, where Sviggum criticized the diversity of the student body at the University of Minnesota-Morris. 

The future of board leadership 

Former board vice chair, Mayeron, will assume the chair’s role for the rest of the term.

In December, the regents elected Mayeron as the board’s vice chair in a 9-3 vote, following Sviggum’s resignation from the position. 

When a chair vacancy occurs, the board’s vice chair steps into the role and serves out the rest of the term, according to the board’s bylaws.  


This is a breaking news story and will be updated. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *